Capitals’ Hathaway surprises 12-year-old fan, mother who helped make masks

12-year-old Alex Henderson and his mother Suzete got the idea to help first responders by making masks, eventually helping out with more than 1,000. When Garnet Hathaway and the Capitals learned about the Henderson family’s efforts, they decided to give Alex a surprise, and the results were precious.

There’s even a little bit of quarantine-era technical awkwardness to really tie the whole thing together.

As Dick Uliano of WTOP News reported on April 23, Alex got the idea to start making masks, realizing there was a a shortage, and also that his mother had sewing skills.

They began with about 50 masks, and over a few weeks, eventually produced about 1,000.

Alex helps make masks Hathaway Capitals

(Let’s be honest. Alex’s mother Suzete is probably the biggest hero.)

The Capitals set up what seemed to be a video call with announcer John Walton, but that was a ruse. Hathaway hopped into the call and Alex realized it … eventually. You can see that really kick in around the four-minute mark in the video above this post’s headline.

One of the best moments came right after Alex realized Hathaway made his “visit.” Suzete said, “(Alex) is speechless, and he’s never speechless.” Wonderful teenage embarrassment ensued:

aw mom Henderson masks Hathaway
Been there, Alex. Been there. (Kinda.)

Hathaway invited Alex to a future Capitals game, hoping to give them a tour. The two got to chat about hockey — Hathaway doesn’t think he could play defense — and other fun stuff.

Mask shortages and other challenges haven’t been a pleasant thing to see, but people have responded. When it came to the Henderson family, it meant sewing masks, including with Capitals logos.

Good stuff from Hathaway, Walton, and the Capitals, and hopefully the Hendersons get that grand tour — when it’s safe.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Scroll Down For: