Hannah Fleet took to social media in hopes of a Christmas miracle. She posted a photo in a Nashville Predators Hockey group page of her and an older gentleman from 2016.
“Hey Preds fans,” says the post. “Can anyone tell me this man’s name? We had season tickets and met during 2016, when we played the Sharks and went into triple OT. Just got to talking about that game and wanted to see how he was!”
Just after the clock struck midnight on May 6, 2016, Fleet and her dad looked over next to them and saw a man standing and clutching the back of his chair with a bright red face.
“We were sitting in our seats and my dad leaned over to me and said he thought this man was about to go into cardiac arrest,” Fleet reminisced. “So of course, we waited and waited because of all the overtimes and I just went over there and started talking to him.”
Fleet can’t recall his name but remembered that he was alone and told her that he had been a season ticket holder since the inaugural season in 1998.
She stayed with him until Mike Fisher scored the game winner and sent the arena into pandemonium. Fleet and the stranger embraced like they had known each other their entire lives.
“It was just one of those moments when we hugged and became instant best friends,” said Fleet.
Fleet, along with her dad and brother, bought a half-season ticket package for about six years. They live in Paducah, Ky., and would drive almost two hours each way to watch the Predators.
“All of my mother’s family is from Detroit and every time we would go visit them, the Red Wings would be heading into the playoffs,” Fleet said about becoming a hockey fan. “Once my dad’s girlfriend took him to a hockey game, that was all she wrote.”
Predators hockey became a way of life for her and her brother. Fleet graduated high school in 2014 and was able to get ahold of Predators mascot Gnash and his manager to include him in her senior pictures. Her brother did the same last year.
“He was coming down from the rafters before a game and I said to my dad that I wanted Gnash in my senior pictures,” she said. “He told me if I could figure out how to get it done then he would make it happen.”
Fleet drove down to the arena for the photoshoot.
“There was a One Direction concert the day we had our shoot and actually got kicked out,” she laughed. “Gnash kept pointing to our jerseys like, ‘Hello, we don’t care about your soundcheck!’”
Fleet no longer has season tickets but when the National Hockey League announced the upcoming start to the 2020-21 season, she couldn’t help but think about how she could be at a game.
“I opened up a Christmas card from my friend and she purchased a cardboard cutout of me for the season,” Fleet said. “So, I called my dad to tell him about it and we just started talking about the game and the friend we made.”
Fleet and her family are hoping he is doing well and they can reunite at a game in the future.
When Fleet was asked about getting him a cutout to sit next to her. She simply replied, “That would be awesome.”