Henrik Lundqvist was the biggest star in the New York Rangers for 15 years. He’s one of the greatest goalies in the modern NHL era and one of the most well-liked figures in hockey of all time. Lundqvist never won a Stanley Cup, but he carried the Rangers for so many years, and it was a shame the way his career abruptly ended.
Lundqvist had just signed for the Washington Capitals when the hockey world discovered the shocking news. The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner had to go through open-heart surgery, and he was forced to retire because of the condition.
Lundqvist has since become an adored NHL analyst, and when he was on TNT during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Sunday, an emotional Lundqvist talked about a special meeting that had just occurred in the corridors of T-Mobile Arena.
Brennan Rosenberg, a 14-year-old Las Vegas resident, has done two operations of the same type as Lundqvist in his life. Brennan and his dad saw Lundqvist in the Vegas arena before Game 1, and of course, he had to say something to his idol.
“I wasn’t really paying much attention, and my dad’s, like, ‘There’s Henrik Lundqvist,’ and I’m, like, ‘What? That’s crazy,’ Brennan said to NHL.com. “I showed him the proof that I did have open heart surgery.”
Brennan lifted his Golden Knights jersey to show Lundqvist his scars.
“I was, like, so star struck,” he said. “I said ‘you’re an inspiration,’ I showed him my heart. I asked him for a photo, he was super-nice.”
Brennan had his first surgery in 2001, but it was unsuccessful. In November 2022, he did it for the second time. At home, Brennan has a huge framed autograph of Lundqvist.
Because of his heart, Brennan can’t play any sports. Brennan instead dreams of becoming a broadcaster.
“It’s kind of like a morale-booster,” Brennan said. “When I wake up in the morning and I just see this scar and I’m, like, ‘I can do anything.’ It was a very traumatizing moment. Some people, they like to hide their worst moments, but I think you should highlight your worst moments because when you’re at the top it shows the progression from where you once were.”
Postgame of Game 1 on Sunday, Lundqvist talked about the meeting, and he was close to tears.
“He told me that, you know, he went through the exact same thing and I was a pretty big inspiration to him going through that time,” Lundqvist said. “It was really cool. I saw it was a pretty emotional moment for his dad. So that was a cool moment for me as well.”