The New Jersey Devils actually made four picks in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft.
Reilly Hoagland, a 13-year-old fan with cystic fibrosis from Toms River, New Jersey, was named as an honorary draft pick on Tuesday.
New Jersey had three first-round picks and chose Alex Holtz, Dawson Mercer and Shakir Mukhamadullin with the Nos. 7, 18 and 20 picks. But Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald and the Make-A-Wish Foundation teamed up to make one more selection – and Hoagland’s wish come true.
Devils alumni Grant Marshall and Bruce Driver and the team mascot all made the 65-mile trip to Toms River to bring him a bag full of Devils draft gear, including a bag, hat, name plate and personalized jersey. Hoagland also will get to skate with the Devils at Prudential Center and attend a home game when they return for the 2020-21 season.
The surprise also included congratulatory messages from Fitzgerald and forward Travis Zajac.
“So happy that you were able and eligible to participate in this year’s draft and that you were drafted by the Devils,” Zajac said. “It’ll be great to have an addition of another Jersey guy on the team. Looking forward to meeting you and having you on the ice with the team once we all get back for the new season.”
Hoagland plays hockey for the Toms River Blackhawks. He was stunned at being chosen by his beloved team.
“It’s overwhelming,” Hoagland told the Devils website. “It’s honorable to be part of an organization I’ve been following since I was 3 years old and to be a Devil now instead of dreaming of being a Devil.”