Seth Parrish figured something was up when his mother pulled their car into the parking garage at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday morning.
“When we were driving through the garage he said, ‘Ice rink. We’re going to skate with the Capitals,'” Debbie Parrish said of her 7-year-old son.
As part of the Courage Caps initiative, Seth Parrish will be among 150 children from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) who will skate with T.J. Oshie, Taylor Chorney, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Nate Schmidt from the Washington Capitals on Thursday. With help from Debbie Parrish, the Capitals and TAPS surprised Seth on Tuesday by giving him a team jersey with No. 12 and his last name on the back and having him join the players and coaches on the ice at the end of their practice.
“I liked it very much,” Seth Parrish said. “It was fun. I waited and waited [until practice was over] and I didn’t want to wait because I just wanted to get out there.”
TAPS provides support to families with a loved one who died while serving in the military. Seth Parrish’s father, Command Sgt. Maj. Harry Parrish Jr. of the Army National Guard, died in 2009, 32 days before Seth was born, when his parachute opened prematurely while preparing for a training exercise jump near West Point.
“What TAPS does for our children is provide opportunities that they get to be amongst other adults, say like with the Capitals today, participating in an event with men, and sometimes women, where my husband, maybe he wouldn’t have been playing ice hockey with Seth but he would have been introducing Seth to activities and sports and doing things as a father-son,” Debbie Parrish said. “Although this doesn’t take the place, it’s something huge in his life. He gets to look up to these guys and have that really special feeling that he’s important.”
Oshie presented Seth with a Capitals’ jersey before the practice and then brought Seth out onto the ice at the end of practice. Seth later passed pucks to Schmidt to help him work on his one-timers and skated around and took shots with Chorney and Tom Wilson, who had one of his sticks cut down so Seth could use it and gave him another stick that he autographed.
“It looked he just wanted to score goals, which is good,” Oshie said. “Hopefully, he’s going to be wearing that real sweater one day.”