Braden Holtby

by Emma Clements from Fredericksburg, VA

Considered one of the best goaltenders in NHL history, Braden Holtby has played on numerous well-known NHL teams, such as the Hershey Bears, the Washington Capitals, and the Vancouver Canucks as of 2020. Although Holtby played on some of the biggest NHL teams, sheltered from the real world, Holtby grew up in a small, isolated town in Canada. As he grew older, he realized how fortunate he was to be protected, and he wanted to create a difference in the world. He has also been an enormous contributor to why I am the goalkeeper I am today. Being a field hockey goalie, I can look up to him as a hero and follow his path to success. A hero to me is someone inspirational, involved in the community, and never afraid to help others. Braden Holtby is my hero because of his uplifting characteristics, his activeness in social issues, and how he gives back to the community in different ways.

Braden Holtby is constantly inspiring me to be the best person and player I can be. It all started when I saw my first Washington Capitals game on television. It was Game 2 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. I remember sitting at the sports bar and watching Holtby make an amazing save that helped lift his team, which led them to subsequently win the Stanley Cup a few days later. “‘Once he made that save, I knew we were gonna win the game,’ added Washington coach Barry Trotz” (Maese). This save not only influenced the team to work harder, but it also motivated me to work harder. I want to be the kind of person that guides others to be the best they can be, like Holtby encourages me to be the best I can be. After that game, I started to watch Holtby closely as he warmed up. Ice hockey and field hockey may be very different in some ways, but goalkeeper warm-ups remain to have much in common. I can easily replicate his warm-up stretches and drills from the hockey rink to the hockey field. Whenever I feel unmotivated to go to practice or a game, I think of Braden Holtby on the ice warming up with intensity, and I quickly change my mindset to a competitive one. This is just one example of how Holtby inspires me, and that is why I chose the number 70. Holtby’s number was 70 and I wanted to dedicate my number to him because I am appreciative of all his motivation that he has provided to me. Holtby is one of my heroes because he pushes me to be successful like him and also because he supports all people no matter their background.

Recently, social issues and other movements have been on the rise. In 2020, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests went worldwide, LGBTQ marches have expanded. More than ever, people are speaking up about our nation's problems. Braden Holtby is using his platform and privilege for good. He rarely uses social media, but when he does, he speaks his mind on important issues that need to be addressed. His first Tweet in over three years states, “As a person who definitely falls into the white privileged category, I know I will never truly know what it’s like to walk in a black man’s shoes. But I know that I have arms, and ears, and a voice to walk beside and listen to every word of anguish and give my strength to every black man, woman, or child until their shoes weigh the same as mine” (Oland). Holtby is making it known that he may never be able to feel what the black community is feeling but he states how he will do everything in his power to spread awareness on how he, and others, can help make a difference. Holtby is compassionate and will not stop fighting until everyone is treated equally and when “...all black lives matter” (Holtby). Holtby’s activism is one reason why he is my hero, and his way of giving back to the community is why I look up to him so much.

Braden Holtby is selfless and thinks of others by trying to find different ways to give back to the community. He is my hero, as well as the hero in the eyes of many other children and adults. One child, eight-year-old Braden Nienaber with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, saw Holtby as his number one hero. Holtby, being the unselfish person he is, collaborated with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to fulfill Nienaber’s dreams of meeting his idol. “[Braden Nienaber] skated with Holtby...he also received a tour of the Capitals’ locker room from Holtby and was presented with a custom jersey and locker nameplate as well as signed equipment” (Writer). Writer provides many details of how Holtby is a very considerate person and always takes advantage of any opportunity he can receive to give back to his community.

Another way Holtby gave back to the community was by partnering with the Capital Area Food Bank. Due to COVID-19, many people are struggling to support themselves and their families. Holtby, being aware of his stable situation where he can support his family, decided to give back to the families who were not as fortunate. Holtby and his wife, Brandi Holtby, donated 25,000 meals to the people in need through his local food bank. “Braden Holtby isn’t just known among Washington Capitals fans for making saves. He’s also left an impact in the D.C. community off the ice” (Marzzacco). Holtby finds many different ways to give back to his community. Along with donating thousands of meals, the Holtby family also donated $10,000 to support the food bank with any other needs of the struggling families. A hero to me is someone active, but Braden Holtby goes above and beyond the word “active” as he supports children and unfortunate families. This is one of the reasons why he is my hero; he is determined and wants to help support change for the better of all people.

Heroic characteristics are recognized as being an inspiration or the motivation to someone, being active in issues around the world where change is necessary, and thinking of yourself after others. Braden Holtby can be seen as a hero to anyone in the community because he goes the extra mile to ensure everyone is equal and is in a happy, stable environment. For these reasons, Braden Holtby is my hero, and he can be yours, too.


Page created on 5/14/2021 6:39:03 PM

Last edited 5/18/2021 5:54:45 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.


Oland, Ian. Braden Holtby: ‘America will never be great until all BLACK lives matter’. [Online] Available

Oland, Ian. Braden Holtby on the Black Lives Matter protests: ‘I’m really hoping that this is going to change.... [Online] Available

Maese, Rick. Braden Holtby’s must-see save for Capitals ‘maybe the save of a lifetime’. [Online] Available

Marzzacco, Michael. Capitals: Braden Holtby donates 25,000 meals to food charity. [Online] Available

Writer, Staff. Washington Capitals Braden Holtby Grants Wish of The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada Child. [Online] Available