Everything was fine when Capitals defenseman Jack Hillen talked to his wife, Caitlin, before heading to BB&T Center Arena in Sunrise, Fla., for a game against the Florida Panthers Saturday. She wasn’t due to give birth to the couple’s second child until April 17, and Hillen had “no idea” he would be greeted with life-altering news by the time the Capitals secured a 4-3 victory that night.
Hillen stepped off the ice shocked to hear team services manager Ian Anderson tell him, “Congratulations. You have a son.” At first, Hillen figured it meant his wife had gone into labor. But at 6:35 in a Minnetonka, Minn., hospital, right when the puck was dropped in South Florida, Knox Patrick Hillen was born.
“When I got back from the road at 3:30 [a.m.], I sent her a text and she wasn’t sleeping so we facetimed and I got to see him,” Jack Hillen said Sunday night after Washington dispatched Tampa Bay, 4-2, at Verizon Center. “It’s been a lot going on, but it’s great. I’m blessed.”
It sure has been a wild week for the 27-year-old Hillen, who inked a new two-year contract extension with Washington worth $1.4 million last Tuesday. He then showed again Sunday why Coach Adam Oates has been giving him an increasing amount of ice time as one of the team’s top defensemen, recording two assists against the Lightning.