LAS VEGAS— A new power forward motivated the Vegas Golden Knights to a big victory. The Golden Knights have been blessed by the company of Make a Wish eight-year-old Anabelle Hanson these last two games. Although she didn't take a shift on Saturday, she was instrumental in the team's 6-2 win over the Washington Capitals, from a motivation factor.
"That was really special for us and her as well… I think that's the reason why, you know, we got to got the mood back in general. She just brings a different perspective. You kind of sit back and say- wow, if this kid's happy with what she's going through then obviously we should be pretty happy as well. So it reminds us how blessed we are. And she's awesome. She's hilarious. I need to start hanging out with her more," said forward Paul Cotter.
Hanson, who was born with cystic fibrosis, attended the game and watched her teammates put up a win. She was also the bell ringer who sent the team on the ice for warmups, the horn cranker to start the second, and got to skate out with the team during the national anthem.
"We love having her in the dressing room; she's a great kid and a lot of fun; she's got a pretty big personality," said Logan Thompson.
General manager Kelly McCrimmon officially signed Hanson to a one-day contract on Friday. Before Saturday's game, she attended two Golden Knights practices and got to go out on the ice and shoot on Logan Thompson. She also dropped the gloves with Keegan Kolesar and cooked him.
Annabelle was ready to rumble 🥊 😂 pic.twitter.com/UE9PQIIglV
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 20, 2023
Hanson, a native of Janesville, CA, wears no. 61 because her favorite player is Mark Stone, who she was able to meet. She hilariously said that she became a Golden Knights fan out of resentment towards her dad and grandfather because they "hate them."
This is the eighth time the Golden Knights have connected with Make a Wish Southern Nevada, and this partnership could not have come at a better time for the team. They were in the midst of a season-high three-game losing streak before Hanson's arrival and now are back on track.
"That kind of gave us a breath of fresh air to not think about hockey for a second and think about life. A lot of these guys have children so I'm sure it was really cool for them to see that. And my mom works with kids. So I think I had a little bit in my DNA to work with her a little bit," said Cotter.
The Golden Knights will embark on a four-game road trip before the NHL's All-Star Break starting Sunday in Arizona at 5:00 p.m.