Alex Pietrangelo wins Stanley Cup with Golden Knights after daughter's health scare: 'This is a dream'

Six months ago, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was prepared to walk away from hockey. His 4-year-old daughter, Evelyn, had caught a flu that turned into encephalitis. She was practically paralyzed.

Pietrangelo took a leave of absence from the team and was not going to come back until his family was healthy. If that meant he never played again, so be it.

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He returned to the team in December, saying, “God answered our prayers,” after the family learned Evelyn was expected to make a full recovery. On Tuesday night, Evelyn helped Pietrangelo celebrate his second Stanley Cup as the Golden Knights beat the Florida Panthers, 9-3, in Game 5 to win their first championship.

“You have to understand what it means for her to be here with me, with us, like this,” he said after the game. “Six months ago, she couldn’t eat, she couldn’t talk, she couldn’t walk. Six months ago, I was ready to give up my career for her.

“I never envisioned a moment like this back then. And now, to win a Cup, to have her running around the ice to celebrate with us, I mean, dreams do come true. And this is a dream.”

After tying his career high with 54 points during the regular season, Pietrangelo contributed a goal and nine assists during Las Vegas’ playoff run. His pass from deep in his own zone set up the Golden Knights’ third goal Tuesday night.

Talking to after the game, Pietrangelo — who also won the Stanley Cup as captain of the St. Louis Blues in 2019 — admitted that his daughter’s health scare made him question God’s plan.

“You wonder what plan God has for you when something like that happens,” he said. “You’re not thinking about hockey, about when you might play again. Who cares? All you’re thinking about is, ‘What’s happening to her? Why is it happening to her? And what can I do to help her get better?'”

It was not the first time a health scare had tested the faith of Pietrangelo and his wife, Jayne, either. They lost their first child, Gabriel, due to complications from his birth in 2017. In a piece for the Players’ Tribune the following year, Pietrangelo talked about trying to make sense of how God’s plan for him could include so many blessings and so much pain.

“I don’t care how strong of a person you are … you can’t help but ask yourself, ‘If God has done all of this for me in my life, and given me so much, and if there’s a plan for everyone, then why did this happen?'” he wrote.

The couple welcomed triplets — Evelyn, Oliver and Theodore — in 2018 and another daughter, Julia, in 2020.

As challenging as this season was for him on a personal level, Pietrangelo credits his teammates with being a source of encouragement and joy.

“It’s fun to come to the office every day. We enjoy it. Even when things aren’t going well, we still enjoy each other as people, which is a good thing,” he said. “There are days when you don’t want to go out [on the ice]. But when you keep the energy up with each other, that kind of keeps it going.”

Seeing Evelyn helps too, of course. When the Golden Knights were in Florida with a 2-0 series lead last week, Pietrangelo received a video call from his family back home. He could see his kids dancing and singing in the background. Six months after fearing for Evelyn’s life, Pietrangelo marveled at where she is now.

“There she is, on the video, dancing and singing in the living room,” Pietrangelo told “The kids got a few songs about God and Jesus that they like and sing and dance to. That’s when it really hits you hard. That’s when you really appreciate how far she’s come.”

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