By all accounts, it was a great game for Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson.
He helped his team to 2-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, shutting out 37 shots on goal.
But Anderson had not been expected to play in that National Hockey League (NHL) game in Edmonton at all.
He was supposed to be on personal leave to be with his wife, Nicholle, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, but she was the one who urged him to play.
She encouraged Anderson to return to the rink after backup goalie Andrew Hammond was injured, leaving the team without key experience in net.
“Nicholle wanted Craig to phone me,” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. “She was the one who said, ‘Craig, your teammates need you right now.'”
A day earlier, Dorion announced on Anderson’s behalf that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer, but that the goalie was coming back to play in Sunday’s game.
The team rallied around the emotional goaltender after the final horn at the end of the game.
“We did everything we could to help him but he played a hell of a game himself,” said team captain Erik Karlsson following the game.
Rival Oilers fans also stuck around to cheer Anderson, who received the game’s first star award. So did Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.
Head coach Guy Boucher told reporters after the game that “we really love hockey, it’s a great game. But there are things that are bigger”.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-37767691