With professional athletes today having achieved a celebrity status all over the world, their influence on society today is tremendous. Many of the sports stars provide a “role model effect” to the youngsters today and are often looked upon as a source of inspiration.
A true sports star is one who knows that the game is not all about himself or herself. They are doing it because they love the game and there are millions of fans rooting for them. Not all fans are lucky enough to get up close with their favorite stars, and one can imagine how it feels when that happens.
Mitchell Marner, who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, is one such sports star who knows what his game is all about. Apart from his impressive performances on the ice, Marner is one guy who has what it takes to create some unforgettable memories for his fans.
Valentine’s Day turned out to be a day that a young fan of Marner would always remember as he left her delighted beyond measure.
It all began when Maple Leafs fan Mark Beretta tweeted a photo of his daughter on her way to Las Vegas to watch Marner in action against Vegas Golden Knights.
The tweet read: “Made it to Vegas! Long way for her first game. @Marner93 your biggest fan is looking for you!” When Marner came across the tweet, he decided to keep an eye out for his little fan.
Made it to Phoenix, beautiful sunny afternoon and a great vibe at the Gila River Arena. Super excited to see @AM34 on his home turf. #LeafNation is in full force bringing Auston’s new home town to his original home town. Go Leafs Go!!!! @MapleLeafs pic.twitter.com/3Qx9K4qxcz
— Mark Beretta (@NotMarkBeretta) February 16, 2019
During the pregame warmup, Marner noticed the girl in the stands. She was holding a sign which read: “Hey Mitch!!!! Be My Valentine?!” The level of excitement grew as Marner skated over to her, tossed a puck over the glass as a souvenir, and even posed for a photo.
The little girl was left absolutely thrilled; it was Valentine’s Day come true for her. Perhaps the only girl who wouldn’t have been too impressed with the act was Marner’s girlfriend.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 15, 2019
The Maple Leafs star humorously tweeted an apology to his girlfriend after the moment with the young fan. He tweeted, “Sorry @stephlachanceee Great team win.”
Leafs coach Mike Babcock was impressed with Marner’s actions. He told the Toronto Sun, “I like all that stuff. As long as you understand that the only reason you get to do this for a living is because you have fans, you never lose sight of what’s important.
“The game is about the people and the people that love it and the reason you’re in it is because you love it. You would do it for free, you’re blessed to be in this game, and then to share that moment, I thought it was spectacular,” he further added.
— Mitchell Marner (@Marner93) February 15, 2019
For Marner, fans like the Berettas are what players need to give them that extra push, which makes the game more enjoyable.
“It was great,” Marner said. “I’ve said it multiple times, playing (for the Leafs) is a blessing. We have a lot of great fans, a lot of great fans who travel with us. Before the game I saw one of her family members tweeted they were there, so as soon as I got on the ice I was looking for (the sign). Pretty cool interaction.”
We woke up to watching ourselves on all the networks. All we wanted was for @Marner93 to wave at his biggest little fan. Thanks so much, very proud to be part of #LeafsForever and Leaf Nation. Here’s the pic. Wife made her sign for @AM34 for the Phoenix game. Go Leafs Go!!! pic.twitter.com/KIOC2z2ZRd
— Mark Beretta (@NotMarkBeretta) February 15, 2019
The Berettas were quick to show their gratitude as the girl’s dad tweeted: “Hey @Marner93 …. That’s my kid. You made her life. Thanks so much for being such a great sport and total class act. You’re the franchise and always an All Star. See you in Phoenix!!!!”
What probably made the ending sweeter was the fact that the Maple Leafs beat Vegas Golden Knights 6-3 that night. Marner knows that he has one more lifelong fan on his list and for the young girl, it turned out to be her best Valentine’s Day ever.
Watch the heartwarming video below: