Liam O’Brien – 6’1″, 205 lbs. 2 Career NHL Regular Season Fights...
What I Did With My Caps Clinic Stick
On February 26th, 23 men and women won the opportunity to skate with four Capitals and a coach. How? They were the winning bidders for the Caps Clinic at the Caps Care Casino Night, which helped raise money for Washington Capitals Charities. Everyone involved, myself included, was happy to contribute, but it just didn’t stop there for many of us. Last year, Brooks Laich signed his Caps Clinic jersey and had it put up for auction with the proceeds going to charity. Jim Johnson this year gave his jersey to Mark Whiting, one of the heads of the participating group, as a thank you for getting us together and organizing the very generous bid. Then there was a child by the name of Bobby Deitz.
At Caps Clinic, Marcus Johansson, Dennis Wideman, Mathieu Perreault, Michal Neuvirth, and Johnson signed both my clinic jersey and the stick I used at the clinic. I’m having the jersey framed for my wall, but the stick has a more interesting story. I decided to give it to my coworker Cheryl Deitz’s son. Bobby (Born October 31st, 1999), who is 13-years-old, was diagnosed with an Ependymoblastoma brain tumor when he was 21 months old. He endured surgery, chemotherapy and radiation all before his third birthday. He also got to meet Olaf Kolzig when he was doing one of his Olie’s All Stars visit at Children’s Hospital in November of 2000. On March 12th, 2001, Bobby and his family got the greatest of news: He was officially cancer free. This is something that you have to admire, no matter who you are, and when I received word from Mark that we had won the bid, I decided what I wanted give my stick to Bobby.
The next day at work, I waited for Cheryl to come in to give her the stick to give to Bobby. “I had a mixed bag of emotions,” Cheryl said. “First of all I felt happy because I knew Bobby would love it. Next, I felt sad because it reminded me of Bobby’s struggles and pain he went through. He had so many bad days.”
“I thought it was a very sporty looking stick. Loved the colors, very thoughtful,” Bobby’s father said. Bobby’s older sister, Becca, said it was a really cool stick and very special gift. But one thing that surprised me the most was when Cheryl actually asked me to sign the stick for Bobby, which I graciously did.
I had the opportunity to ask Bobby a few questions about the stick.
Q: Being how Caps Clinic is about charity and having fun, how did you feel when you got the stick I used on the ice with the players and Jim Johnson, and saw all of the autographs on the stick?
Bobby: I felt really excited when I saw the stick. It made me smile.
Q: Whose autograph is your favorite?
Bobby: It’s hard for me to choose, I like them all.
Q: What was one of the neatest things you saw on the stick besides the autographs?
Bobby: I noticed all of the scrapes and marks from being played with.
Q: If you were given the opportunity to meet the Capitals, what would you say to them?
Bobby: I would tell them that I love to watch all of them play hockey.
Looking back at everything that had transpired, and how I got to make Bobby very happy with the stick, it makes me think about things more clearly. It makes me not take everything for granted because I’ll never know what can happen down the road. Bobby was 21 months old when he was diagnosed with cancer and he beat it eight months later. To do something special for him was a pure honor and I am still greatly humbled. Just because you do one thing for charity doesn’t mean it ends there.
Here’s what he got from Kolzig.