Predators’ Matt Irwin replaces stolen equipment for Victoria boy

Nashville Predators defenceman Matt Irwin. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Matt Irwin has two assists in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games. However, one family would certainly argue his latest assist – one he just made off the ice – has been the most important of the last two months.

The Nashville Predators defenceman has pitched in to help replace the missing equipment of an 11-year-old boy from his hometown of Victoria, B.C., according to several reports.

Lincoln Shemilt had his gear stolen from his middle school storage locker, leading his dad, Jason, to post about the incident on Facebook last week. The father made an impassioned plea, asking for the thief to return the equipment because he couldn’t afford to buy a new set.

According to NHL.com, Predators director of hockey operations Brandon Walker saw the post and alerted Irwin because he was from the same city as the family. Irwin contacted his equipment representatives, who were eager to help out. Irwin was able to get Lincoln some new pads.

“I wanted to be able to help out, and get this guy back on the ice,” Irwin told reporters Saturday.

Lincoln’s mom, Melissa, said her son was thrilled to receive help – especially from an NHL player – so he could keep playing.

As a way of paying the kindness forward, Lincoln has cut 12 inches off his hair to raise money for a cancer charity, she told the league website.

“Lincoln eats, lives and breathes hockey,” Melissa said. “So to have Matt Irwin, a defenceman, the same as Lincoln, helping him out to get back in to the game … It’s such an amazing act of kindness from an NHL player.”