Skip to main content

Ducks make sick teen's dream come true, skates out as part of lineup at home opener

At the Ducks’ home-opener, captain Ryan Getzlaf gave up his spot as the final skater to hit the ice as part of a pre-game ceremony. Instead, Kai Quinonez, a 13-year-old battling a rare blood disorder, took the ice last to huge applause from a sellout crowd at Honda Center.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

During the pre-game ceremony at NHL home openers, the last player to hit the ice is generally the captain. And Monday evening, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf would have been the final Duck to skate out onto Honda Center ice were it not for a special fan in attendance.

As part of the Ducks’s season-opening ceremony, 13-year-old Kai Quinonez was the final skater to hit the ice for the home side. Quinonez suffers from a rare blood disease called aplastic anemia, which he has been battling for the past five years. According to the Mayo Clinic, aplastic anemia occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells, and leaves those suffering from the serious condition fatigued and results in a higher risk of infections, bruising and uncontrolled bleeding.

After being introduced to the Honda Center crowd with a full introduction, including a scoreboard graphic, Quinonez skated to the blueline to join the rest of his new teammates:

Quinonez wore No. 47 when he took the ice, the same number as Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm. Lindholm is Quinonez’s favorite player, he said, telling the OC Register’s Eric Stephens that Lindholm is, “a good young gun. He’s just really nice. He always works really hard to achieve what he does.”

Quinonez was granted the opportunity to join the Ducks through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Originally, Quinonez was granted a day with the team and took part in a practice with some Ducks players, but the team stepped up to have him join them on ice as part of the opening-night lineup, too.

TOP HEADLINES

USATSI_8723284
Play

NHL Hot Seat Radar: Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins' competitive window is shrinking – something that happens to virtually every successful franchise – so it's up to the team's management to see how they approach both the short- and long-term future.

Juraj Slafkovsky

Prospect Pool Overview: Montreal Canadiens

From making the Stanley Cup final to snagging the first overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens have had a riveting last year and a half. Tony Ferrari looks at the team's prospect pool and who you need to get excited about.

USATSI_15981809

Jets Sign Appleton to Three-Year Extension, Avoid Arbitration

The Winnipeg Jets and forward Mason Appleton have avoided arbitration, agreeing to terms on a three-year contract extension.