Liam Keigel’s wish to be a Washington Capital was granted

Liam Keigel’s wish was to be a Capital originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington


It is every hockey fan’s dream growing up to be able to be a part of an NHL team. For 12-year-old Liam Reigel, the Washington Capitals and Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic made that dream come true.

Growing up Liam fell in love with the sport of hockey and developed an even deeper love for the Capitals. The young Caps fan saw his life change drastically when his family found out in Dec. 2022 that he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Liam had a very special wish he wanted to be granted, which was to become a Washington Capital. Liam wanted to know what it was like to skate with the Capitals and have the chance to meet his favorite player, Lars Eller. Little did Liam know, what was about to transpire in the next 48 hours was going to exceed his expectations.

Not only did the Capitals and Make-A-Wish turn his wish into fruition, but they had to make sure they went above and beyond for Liam. It all started with a visit to the Caps’ locker room on Monday, where Liam was welcomed with open arms by the team but, more importantly, was greeted by his favorite player in Eller.

“Today is a very special day,” Eller said during his speech in the locker room. “Liam, he’s fighting the fight against cancer every day and he’s hanging in. Today is special because Liam had a wish, he wanted to come here and spend the day with us and come on the ice with us. Today we are going to make that wish come true.”

Eller gifted Liam his very own red Capitals jersey with Reigel on the back, followed by one of the greatest numbers stitched on it, #8. Liam got dressed in full Capitals uniform, rocking the blue uniform with Ovechkin on the back, and was greeted by a parade of sticks clashing against the ice once he entered the rink.

Liam grabbed a group photo with the team, officially making him a Washington Capital for the day. To top it all off though, Liam needed to show his teammates and coaches what he could on the ice. He stood at center ice with the entire Caps team behind him and just netminder Darcy Kuemper to beat.

The southpaw danced in on the breakaway and wristed one blocker side beating Kuemper for the goal, his first as a Capital. Here’s Joe Beninati on the call:

In the locker room, Eller informed him that his wish was going to continue into Tuesday. His entire family would be attending the Capitals’ home game against the Detroit Red Wings and he would have the chance to sit on their bench during the pregame warmups.

Liam entered Capital One Arena with his newly gifted Capitals jersey, signed by the team. He sat on the Caps bench while they warmed up and even had one of his newest friends come over to say what’s up.

Liam also had the chance to visit the coach’s office where he paid Peter Laviolette a visit. The Caps head coach informed Liam that he had a very important job to take care of come Tuesday night.

“I thought it would be great if you came in and read the starting lineup to the guys and tried to get the boys fired up before they head out on the ice,” Laviolette said to Liam. “[The pregame speech] would be a good time for a quick seven or eight words of, nothing you’ve got to memorize, just say ‘let’s go get ‘em tonight.’”

Come Tuesday night, Liam did just that and made sure to get his teammates properly fired up ahead of the game.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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