Anderson Whitehead’s long-standing relationship with the Canadiens goalkeeper began with a video of their first meeting after the death of the boy’s mother.

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More than two and a half years ago Anderson Whitehead met his hockey hero, Carey Price.

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Anderson was 11 at the time and his mother, Laura McKay, had died less than four months earlier at age 44 from cancer. Anderson’s bedroom was covered in Price posters, and his mother had always wanted him to meet her hero.

After his death, the family decided to do everything they could to find a way for Anderson to meet Price and it finally happened after a morning skating at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on February 23, 2019, before a game between the Canadiens. and Maple Leafs. .

Price, who had been briefed on Anderson’s story, stopped to talk to him and the boy began to sob with tears running down his cheeks. Price removed his goalie mask and gloves and walked to the stands to give Anderson a long hug, saying, “Things will get better, buddy.”

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Anderson’s aunt, Tammy Whitehead, recorded the meeting and posted it on her Facebook page. The video went viral and the NHL ended up inviting Anderson to the 2019 NHL Awards show in Las Vegas, where Price surprised the boy by showing up to meet him on stage.

Once again, Anderson burst into tears and Price gave him another hug. Price also gifted Anderson one of his Canadiens sweaters and invited him to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis.

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Last season, Canadiens owner Geoff Molson invited Anderson to attend Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Center.

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After news broke Thursday that Price had voluntarily entered the NHL / NHLPA player assistance program and would be absent from the Canadiens for a minimum of 30 days, I began to think about Anderson and his special relationship with the goalkeeper.

“I was a bit surprised, to be 100% honest,” Anderson said by phone Friday from his home in Paris, Ontario, when asked what his initial reaction was to the Price news. “But I really support him because at least he was able to get the help he needed before it got worse. So I think it’s really cool that he was the person who went out and got the help because of all the people you would think would need help, it wouldn’t be him. I really support him to go out and get help as a lot of people need it. “

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Anderson wasn’t the only one surprised. So was Price’s teammate and good friend, Jeff Petry.

“Our families have been united and it’s difficult when you can’t really judge a book by its cover,” Petry said when asked about Price following the Canadiens’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators in their last preseason game on Thursday. night at the Bell Center. “He’s a guy who comes in every day and you think everything is fine and it’s unfortunate that he’s reached a point and we only wish him the best.”

We apologize, but this video could not be loaded.

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Anderson and Price have been in regular contact since their first meeting. Anderson texted Price last month to inform him that he was starting high school at St. John’s College in Brantford, Ontario.

“He said he’s very proud of me and hopes I do well in school this year,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s father, Kevin Whitehead, told his son Thursday that he should send Price another text message.

“He’s been there for us for the last three years,” Kevin told Anderson. “Now it’s your turn to step up and support him.”

Anderson, now 14, said: “I texted him saying that everyone goes through difficulties in life and that he can overcome this struggle easily and that we all support him.”

Kevin spoke Friday about the huge impact Price has had on his son and how the Canadiens goalkeeper has helped the entire family deal with the grief that followed the death of the boy’s mother at such a young age.

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“Just having someone Anderson to say hello to, to really be a part of Anderson’s life,” Kevin said. “It wasn’t just one time. Having the owner of the Montreal Canadiens bring Anderson to the Stanley Cup game only allows this relationship to continue to ignite and it really means a lot to our family and sets a great example for Anderson. Carey is a first class guy … which is why Anderson loved him in the first place. So to have that as an example in Anderson’s life, I think it’s huge. “

What would Kevin say to Price if he could talk to him now?

“Just tell him that we support him and that he has a great family and I read the whole story about how his wife, Angela, is after him.Kevin said. for him to do this, hopefully a lot of other less popular people will feel comfortable getting the help they need as well. “

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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