Wish kid Jarod is no ordinary hockey fan. His parents laminated rosters which the twelve-year-old studies. He could recognize any Detroit Red Wings or Grand Rapids Griffins player on the street. To calm him during tantrums, Jarod’s mom Tina names players with wrong jersey numbers, which Jarod corrects.
Jarod has Sanfilippo Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes the body to improperly break down sugar molecules. Although he can’t skate because of his condition, he can still breathe and play hockey.
In March, Jarod’s wish to take shots on Red Wings Goalie Jimmy Howard, his favorite player, became a reality. Jarod had followed Howard since he had played with the Griffins. Meeting new people can always be a little intimidating, especially when they are wearing gigantic hockey gear but Jimmy and forward Todd Bertuzzi helped Jarod ease onto the ice. With his family, FOX Sports Detroit and other Red Wings players watching, Jarod took the ice and passed a puck back and forth with Bertuzzi. When he brought the puck up to Jimmy Howard, he ... SCORED!
After his victory goal, Jarod continued to practice taking shots and having fun with Bertuzzi and Howard. Afterward, Jarod and his family watched practice from the players’ bench. Jarod talked to players, poked fun as they approached the bench for water and even asked Howard some pressing questions, like, “what is your favorite color of Gatorade?” Howard’s answer? Yellow. “What does your Mom pack you for lunch?” Answer: “She hasn't packed his lunch in about 20 years!”
As the Red Wings exited the ice for the locker room, Howard invited Jarod to the locker room, where he signed his hockey stick “To Jarod, Best Friends Forever, Jimmy Howard 35." Afterward, Jarod and his family greeted players, who all signed his Red Wings memorabilia as they left. Jarod was sure to call to each player, as he recognized them from his rosters. Even former Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom, who was visiting for the day, cracked a smile as Jarod excitedly announced, “It’s Nick Lidstrom, it’s Nick Lidstrom!”