PITTSBURGH – Most of the time when a Boston Bruins player scores their first NHL goal, the game puck is kept, memorialized and sent to the hockey parents that did so much to support that young player through their journey in the sport.
Bruins rookie Jakub Lauko is not most ordinary NHL players, however. He’s a 22-year-old kid that loves Game of Thrones, comic book movies and everything in between, and has a very thoughtful side to him.
All of that came out in Tuesday night’s 6-5 comeback OT win for the Boston Bruins against the Pittsburgh Penguins when Lauko chipped in with the first NHL goal of his young career. It was a great play with Nick Foligno carrying the puck up the right side of the ice before feeding it to a wide open Lauko, who buried the shot cutting to the net from the left wing.
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But Lauko’s plans for that special puck were even greater in both intentions and selfless actions. He wasn’t putting it in a trophy room or sending it to his parents back in the Czech Republic. No, instead he was sending it back home to the mother of his good buddy Ondrej Buchtela, who passed away a couple of years ago from cancer.
Lauko said he made a promise to his old hockey teammate when Buchtela was courageously battle terminal cancer, and he fully intended to follow through on it.
“There’s kind of a little bit of a story behind it. I made a promise to my dying friend two years ago that I would make it to the NHL for him,” said Lauko, with tears welling up in his eyes as he spoke about his friend that was taken way too early. “It’s going to his mother. My dad and my mom might be a little disappointed, but I made a promise to him and to his family as well.
“He died two years ago of cancer. It was quick. We were really close and we were playing together. He was a really good hockey player, really talented. So it’s going to go to his family.”
Lauko has won over Boston Bruins fans with his speed, his tenacity and his willingness to do what is necessarily as a fourth line energy player, and there’s no doubt that he’s always had offensive upside to his game as well.
But the bet here is that Lauko has won even more fans over now after dedicating the first goal to his fallen friend in a touching moment that oftentimes becomes all about the player scoring the goal, rather than somebody else entirely.