The Washington Capitals ended 43 years of frustration and playoff heartbreak Thursday night when they defeated Vegas in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Cup is headed to the nation's capital and memorable celebrations big and small can be counted on for days (weeks?) to come. But perhaps the most memorable moment in the wake of the championship celebration happened on the ice moments after players got their first close-up with Lord Stanley.
Props to NHL on NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick for getting this on-ice tear-jerker interview with former Warroad standout T.J. Oshie, whose father is battling Alzheimer's. (KLEENEX ALERT!)
"My dad, he doesn't remember a lot of stuff these days," Oshie said, his voice choking with emotion . "He remembers enough. But I tell you what, he's here tonight. I don't know where he's at, but this one will stick with him forever. You can guarantee that."
Moments later, Oshie found him. Tim had watched the game alongside his sister and daughter in the T-Mobile Arena stands. (The above photo was taken by Dean Grillo, a hockey agent whose father operated summer hockey camps in northern Minnesota for many years.)
Oshie was outstanding throughout Washington's playoff run, racking up eight goals and 13 assists in 24 games as the Caps' fourth-leading scorer. He had a goal and two assists in the Caps' 6-2 victory in Game 4 of the Final, which he finished with six points in five games.
"I've never seen a team come together like we did here," Oshie said. "I've never seen the commitment from start to finish like we had here."
The Capitals' Stanley Cup victory was a crowning achievement for the 31-year-old Oshie, a 10-year NHL veteran with stops in St. Louis and Washington after beginning his pursuit of the sport in the Pacific Northwest, which doesn't produce pro hockey players in high volume. Oshie said he couldn't have done it without steadfast support from Tim, who served as a coach for one of T.J.'s childhood teams in Everett.
They both later moved to Warroad for T.J.'s high school career.
"To have him here is amazing," Oshie said of his father. "He doesn't travel very well, and I've been trying to figure out how to get him out all playoffs. It was kind of a perfect storm to get him with my aunt and sister out from Seattle."
Later in the celebration, Oshie went for a celebratory skate with his young daughters, Lyla and Leni. "Besides my family, that's one of the best feelings I've ever had," he said. "It's for my family. For my two little girls. I got my name on something so they'll know that dad played hockey when they grow up."
Content from The Associated Press was used in this report.