ST. PAUL, Minn. — Calen Addison will never forget the date of November 2.
It’s the date his grandfather, Alex Addison, died from lung cancer in 2014 at age 76.
Seven years to the day, the Minnesota Wild defenseman scored his first NHL goal in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Ottawa Senators.
That it came on the Wild’s Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness night made it even more memorable.
“To get my first goal on that night is pretty special,” Addison said Wednesday. “That one’s for him for sure.”
The goal came at 4:24 of the first period, giving the Wild a 2-0 lead. Addison tipped the puck that deflected off of Senators defenseman Michael Del Zotto and fluttered over goalie Filip Gustavsson.
“I didn’t clue into it until that first intermission that, wow, that’s pretty weird and just super ironic to score my first goal on that night,” said Addison, who was playing his fifth NHL game. “My parents were watching, and it was cool for them too when it happened because they thought of [my grandfather], too. Just pretty cool.”
Growing up, Addison said he spent three weeks every summer visiting his grandfather in McAuley, Manitoba, doing what he described as, “country things” while hanging out and spending time in the small town.
Alex was in the stands at the majority of Addison’s games, but died when Addison was 14, four years before his grandson would be selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round (No. 53) of the 2018 NHL Draft. He was traded to the Wild with forward Alex Galchenyuk and a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft for forward Jason Zucker on Feb. 10, 2020.
Addison said he is doing his best to make his grandfather proud, with one goal hoping to lead to many more.
“He was one of the closest people to me growing up throughout my life,” Addison said. “He grew up playing hockey, too, and he was always watching my game — every game — so it was just a special moment for my entire family.”