There's nothing more exciting for a young child to get a puck from an NHL player, and thanks to a good-natured St. Louis Blues fan, 11-year old Jacob DeClue got that chance.
DeClue was watching the Blues practice at Enterprise Center in St. Louis before their 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round on Friday when forward Sammy Blais spotted him at the glass and tossed a puck to him. However, two adults intercepted the puck and kept it for themselves.
That's when lifelong Blues fan Stephanie Chitwood sprang into action. Chitwood tweeted a picture at the Blues explaining the situation, and the team made it right.
"The kid started tearing up and the two adults were just cheering that they got a puck," Chitwood told NHL.com. "The child left and it broke my heart but I took a picture of him standing and I wasn't expecting anything but the Blues replied that they wanted to get him a signed puck. I have a 4-year-old daughter and I'd want the same thing for her. I saw how upset he was."
The Blues tweeted asking her to message them his name and that they'd leave a signed puck for him. The only problem was, Chitwood didn't know the child.
"I scanned the crowd for the kid since he had an old-school Wayne Gretzky jersey and I just so happened to see him in the lower bowl," she said. "I had seen this kid in the past at games get pucks and give them away to other kids. So it was upsetting to me so I went down to his section and walked up to his dad and told him the story and his dad thanked me and got his name and sent it to the Blues."
Jacob's dad, John, got Chitwood's phone number and sent her a picture of the present waiting for his son. It was a signed puck by Blues forward Pat Maroon with a hand-written note.
"You just don't find that sort of kindness and generosity often enough in today's world," John said. " She conveyed that having a daughter herself, she completely understood what it would feel like as a parent if that happened with her own child. What an incredible gesture of kindness." John said.
"We're so sorry to hear that someone stole your puck. Here's a replacement signed by STL's own Pat Maroon! Thanks for cheering us on tonight and LET'S GO BLUES!" the note read.
The DeClues are partial season ticket holders and have been to every playoff game.
Jacob recently completed his first season playing for the Kirkwood Stars. His favorite player is Brayden Schenn and he wants to be a broadcaster when he grows up. He said the puck and note are already proudly displayed in his room.
"So my favorite part of the games is probably coming down early to go see warmups so when I get a chance to get a puck I really enjoy it," Jacob said. "But over the years of going to the games I have a lot so now usually when I get one I give it to someone younger than me that didn't get one."
Hopefully for Jacob, there will be at least one more game at Enterprise Center this season, if the Blues can win Game 6 at the Stars on Sunday. Then he can watch warmups and cheer on Maroon, one of his new favorite players.
"When Stephanie said that she saw what happened and the Blues wanted to give me a puck, I was really excited because the Blues are just that kind of team and that is why I like the Blues so much," Jacob said.