8-year-old Braden Nienaber may suffer from a rare disease, but you wouldn't know it from watching him skate around Kettler Capitals Iceplex over the weekend. Or from the knock-out punch he landed on Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson.
Nienaber was diagosed at four-years old with Langerhans cell histiocystosis after his parents discovered a tumor on their child's forehead. But today the blood disease that kept the young Saskatoon native in and out of the hospital for a year with chemo treatments and surgeries isn't keeping him from being a typical kid.
Nienaber's trip to the nation's capital included having his own exclusive stall in the Capital's practice locker room, complete with a personalized jersey. If that wasn't cool enough, Nienaber even dropped the gloves with Tom Wilson, leaving the pesky rookie on his back after a clear shot to the face of the Capital's forward.
He completed his visit by tossing Buffalo's Steve Ott from the ceremonial puck drop at Sunday's game, which received a loud cheer from the Verizon Center crowd. That alone may have turned Nienaber from the one idolizing, to the one being idolized.
"That was his one wish to come here and play with the Capitals. We're the lucky ones. He'll remember this forever and I hope we make his trip worthwhile," Holtby told WUSA 9.
On behalf of everyone that caught a glimpse of Nienaber's visit, I think it's safe to say Holtby and the Capitals made it worth it.
If you haven't seen the full footage of little Braden's visit, be sure that you do.