Bobby Ryan and Cam Atkinson made wishes come true for young fans earlier this season by finding the back of the net, but Mats Zuccarello helped an 18-year-old fan out in a big way Monday and all the Rangers winger had to do was hand over one of his sticks.
Ahead of New York’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday, Rangers fan Vinny Mutone held up a sign during warmups that asked Zuccarello to pass him a stick. Not for any old reason, though. The request had a purpose. If Zuccarello gave Mutone a stick, the sign read, Catherine De Pinho, who was attending the game with Mutone, would go to prom with him.
It may have seemed like a big gamble, but at the end of warmups, Zuccarello passed a stick to security and directed it over to Mutone, who landed himself the date.
“We both love the Rangers and we’re going to a game, so I thought I know the players like to be nice to the fans and stuff,” Mutone told the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard. “So I thought about making a sign. I love Zuccarello. He’s my favorite player.”
According to Leonard, De Pinho would have said yes to Mutone’s ask either way, and the two have been a couple for a month. On Twitter, Mutone called the moment the “greatest day” of his life.
After the game, which Zuccarello opened the scoring in and the Rangers won 2-1, he signed both the stick and the poster for Mutone and De Pinho. Zuccarello added, “Have fun at prom! Treat her right!” as an inscription to go along with his autograph. He told Leonard post-game that he had some trouble reading the sign at first, but once Zuccarello got the message he knew what he had to do.
“Gotta help a buddy out,” Zuccarello told the Daily News. “Gotta help him get to prom.”
As for Mutone, De Pinho may have to pry the stick out of his hands in order to get him to dance come prom night. Leonard reported Mutone, who shoots right, won’t be using the left-handed stick to play, but the Rangers fan said he was going to sleep with it by his side Monday night.