Boy from Toms River Becomes NJ Devils’ Honorary Draft Pick
2020 has been rough for everyone, and I know for me personally, I love to hear “feel good” stories to help cheer me up. Luckily for those who are like me, this story is bound to bring a smile to your face.
For 13-year-old Reilly Hoagland, he was able to have his dreams come true when the NHL team New Jersey Devils partnered with Make-A-Wish Foundation to make the fan their honorary draft pick, according to Jersey Shore Online.
The Toms River native has been a lifelong fan of the New Jersey Devils and has always wished to be a part of the team. Along with being a Devil’s fan, Hoagland plays hockey as a right wing for the Toms River Blackhawks.
Jersey Shore Online reports that Hoagland has suffered with cystic fibrosis for a very long time, being diagnosed with the disease at the age of four. Make-A-Wish had to pause any travel-related or large gatherings due to the coronavirus, especially with children like Hoagland being at high risk.
However, the foundation was able to grant Hoagland’s wishes by bringing some of the NHL players to his house with the mascot, along with Devils alumni Grant Marshall and Bruce Driver. The team surprised Reilly with a contract, a jersey, and a video from the team’s General Manager and Executive Vice President, Tom Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald welcomed Hoagland to the team during the heartwarming video.
“Instead of dreaming to be a Devil, it’s now fun that I am a devil now,” said Hoagland. “The odds were against me, but the way I think about it, don’t listen to the odds just reach and reach and reach and you’ll get there.”