Skip to main content
Short Shifts

Navy vet returns from deployment to surprise daughter at Capitals game

Kaitlyn Lemanek, 8, stunned by her dad's appearance during Salute to Troops promotion

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Lt. Lemanek surprises daughter

NJD@WSH: Lt. Lemanek returns home, surprises daughter

Lieutenant Joe Lemanek returns from deployment to reunite with his daughter Kaitlyn for a special moment at Capital One Arena

  • 01:51 •

Kaitlyn Lemanek thought she was getting a Washington Capitals jersey as part of their Salute to the Troops promotion Wednesday, but she also got her dad back.

The 8-year-old was supposed to be standing in for Lt. Joe Lemanek, a Navy veteran who had been deployed in the Middle East, but instead he returned to surprise his daughter by returning home during the second period of their game against the New Jersey Devils.

Tweet from @Capitals: What a moment at @CapitalOneArena - @USNavy Lt. Joe Lemanek surprises his daughter Kaitlyn! #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/mUY8kH1FI8

Kaitlyn was moved to tears as the public address announcer rattled off the list of her father's deployments and accomplishments as a member of the Navy. Upon seeing her dad, who was holding a jersey with Kaitlyn and the No. 70, she sprinted to him and leaped into his arms, refusing to let go.

Joe was returning from his deployment with the USS Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group. He has has served in the Navy for 15 years and has served seven tours of duty in Afghanistan, the Western Pacific, Middle East and Northern Atlantic.

Lemanek has earned the Defense Meritorious Service medal, Joint Service Commendation medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.