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Blind hockey fan and son get emotional Stanley Cup surprise

Gerry Nelson and his son, who provides play-by-plays during hockey games for his dad, who is blind, got a surprise visit with the Stanley Cup.
/ Source: TODAY

Gerry Nelson, who is blind, always trusts his son Wyatt to be his eyes when the two watch hockey games together in the stands.

Wyatt, 12, gives him a running play-by-play of the action at every game, but there was a moment recently when the Canadian dad didn't quite believe what his son was describing to him.

The two were watching their hometown minor-league hockey team, the Saskatoon Blades, when team officials brought them into an empty room in the arena for a surprise. Resting on a table was one of the most iconic trophies in sports.

“There's the Cup,” Wyatt says in a video of the encounter.

"The Stanley Cup?" a disbelieving Nelson replies.

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The special moment was captured as part of “Day with the Cup,” a joint initiative from the NHL and Discover that gives select fans a chance to see the Stanley Cup, the ultimate prize for NHL champions.

"It was absolutely amazing,'' Nelson told TODAY. "First of all, to be there with Wyatt, there's nothing else I'd rather be doing. It was like 'Oh my God, the Cup!' It was an emotional moment. We are forever grateful to NBC Sports for making this happen."

"To see dad and how happy he was, I realized what I'm doing means a lot to him, and I realized how good and pure that was," Wyatt told TODAY. "It was overwhelming to see the Cup. It was kind of intimidating in a way."

The story of Wyatt providing running play-by-play at Blades games to Nelson, 52, who went blind from diabetes in 1988, has also led to a chance for Wyatt to do it on the big stage. St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and radio color analyst Kelly Chase reached out on Friday to invite them to Tuesday's Western Conferences finals game against the San Jose Sharks.

Chase has welcomed Wyatt to come on the radio during the game and do some play-by-play.

"I heard that and my eyes just kind of lit up,'' Wyatt said. "Dad was speechless. I couldn't believe it. I'm pumped."

Nelson had traditionally listened to the radio broadcast while in the stands at Blades games until this season. There was no radio broadcast for a preseason game this year, so Wyatt decided to give his dad the play-by-play himself. Now, it's their regular routine.

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"The love that I have for my son and spending time with him, and the fact that I can still be so involved with watching hockey, it's the best thing that ever could've happened to me,'' Nelson said.

Wyatt has always been there to lend his dad a helping hand.

"I remember when Wyatt was a toddler and hardly even walking, I was looking for the TV remote,'' Nelson said. "Instead of grabbing the remote and handing it to me, he took my hand in his, and put my hand on the remote. I thought that was amazing. From day one, he knew when to help and how to help."

However, not even Wyatt's considerable play-by-play skills could do justice to the moment with the Stanley Cup.

"Until the age of 25, I knew what the Cup looked like, but to be able to feel it with my hands and feel all the intricate details and the names of the hockey greats on there was unbelievable,'' Nelson said. "I made sure to put my hand in it and imagine all the different types of liquids that have been in there in celebration."

Wyatt also may have found a career path thanks to his time with his dad.

"I improved quite a bit from that first game,'' Wyatt said. "There's a good chance I might pursue broadcasting now."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.