While 7-year-old Kayleigh Petersen and her family visited Santa Clause in Manhattan on Wednesday, she received brand a new iPad. When Petersen opened the iPad, she found a personalized video message from Henrik Lundqvist, her favorite New York Rangers player.
Petersen, who lives in New Jersey, is an avid hockey fan and amateur hockey player in her elementary school program (and she apparently has a good right hand shot). She began playing hockey two years ago after doctors cleared her to play. Peterson was diagnosed with Tyrosinemia, a disease that causes liver and kidney failure, as an infant and had to have a liver transplant.
In the video message, Lundqvist invited Petersen and her family to the Rangers game on Thursday. Petersen was excited to see her favorite team play. When Petersen arrived at Madison Square Garden before the game, she discovered an even greater surprise.
The New York Rangers were signing this 7-year-old girl to a one-day contract.
It was part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of NJ and the Garden of Dreams Night to help children who are facing obstacles. The signing means Petersen is the first female to ever sign with the Rangers. And while being a 5'2'' elementary school student means she's not your typical free agent, she is not without ability.
"She has tremendous skills and we felt her strength and character are through the roof," said Adam Graves, of the Rangers hockey operations department, to the New York Daily News. "We are proud and honored to have her as a part of the Rangers organization."
The Rangers greeted Petersen with an official team jersey and a pink personalized version (she'll be wearing #23).
She even got a real press conference.
"Her speed, skill and courage have impressed Rangers talent evaluators in her various Intro to Hockey lessons over the last two seasons, as well as at her most recent stint at Full Day Hockey Camp," the Rangers said according to Fox News.
Petersen's special night with the Rangers continued with a postgame locker room visit with the team and a full introduction before the game with the starters.
Peteresen enjoyed her incredible night as a New York Ranger.
(H/T: New York Daily News)