Flames goalie surprises brother with autism with Harvey the Hound meet-and-greet
Meeting the mascot was a dream for Tomas Rittich, so his big brother made it happen
It was a dream meeting that Tomas Rittich had no idea was coming, and his genuine elation is obvious.
His older brother David, a goalie for the Calgary Flames, knew that his younger brother with autism loved watching the team play from his home in the Czech Republic.
"When I am in touch with my friends on the phone, they always tell me how he's watching the game and how he's delighted. That's why I did it for him; I wanted to surprise him."
But it's not just the game that Tomas likes. It's the team's mascot, Harvey the Hound.
'Kind of his dream'
David said the mascot is the wallpaper on Tomas' phone and laptop — and he knew what it would mean to his brother to be in the same room as Harvey.
"It was kind of his dream," David told CBC News.
So when Tomas and his parents were in Calgary for a recent visit, David secretly arranged for Tomas to meet Harvey.
"It was really nice. It's hard to make him surprised because of the autism," David said.
He added that, despite the distance, his relationship with Tomas is unbreakable.
"We are very close. If I get a phone call from my parents, he is always there. When I am back home, I try to be with him as much as possible."
Tomas has now returned home with a memory that will last a lifetime.
"I think they are proud," David said of his parents.
"I think it was a great time for them, and for me and my wife to get them here, and be together and have fun."
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