Watch Capitals’ great birthday surprise for 101-year-old fan

The Washington Capitals invited a special guest to Game 5 of their second-round series: 101-year-old Gert Friedman. She took in her first NHL game Saturday night and rode the ice-resurfacer during the first intermission.

In her 100 years, Gert Friedman had never attended a hockey game live. So the Washington Capitals and NHL gave Friedman the best gift she could ask for Saturday night, inviting the soon-to-be 101-year-old to Game 5 between the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

And while the tickets to the game may have been enough for Friedman, the league and the Capitals stepped it up beyond simply getting her into Verizon Centre for the second-round playoff game. During the first intermission, Friedman was brought out onto the ice in the passenger seat of the ice resurfacer where she rode along for the duration of the ice cleaning, waving to fans in attendance:

“It was great fun sitting up on the ice resurfacer seat and seeing the thousands of people,” Friedman told “I’m very impressed with the skills and finesse and grace and speed of the players and their remarkable ability at playing the game. Thank you to the Caps and the NHL for creating this first-time, lifetime amazing experience.”

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Friedman called her time at the game the “perfect” way to celebrate her 101st birthday, which she’ll officially celebrate on Tuesday. The Capitals could give Friedman another gift Tuesday if they pick up a victory in Game 6 to extend the series to a seventh game. And after Friedman was in the building for the Capitals’ 3-1 Game 5 victory, she might be back for Game 7 as Washington’s good luck charm.