TOMS RIVER – The New Jersey Devils made a fan’s dream come true when they surprised 13-year-old Reilly as an honorary New Jersey Devil.
Make-A-Wish partnered up with the New Jersey Devils to make Reilly Hoagland the honorary draft pick for the season.
Reilly was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of four and continues to combat the life-threatening medical condition. Although Reilly is fighting his illness, he is a talented athlete and hockey player. He plays right wing for the Toms River Blackhawks, wearing the number 8 on his jersey.
Being a lifelong fan of the New Jersey Devils, he knew his wish would be to become a New Jersey Devil.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, Make-A-Wish had to alter any travel-related or large gathering wishes for kids and families. These wishes, though, are never cancelled.
Make-A-Wish was able to grant Reilly’s wish by visiting him at his home in Toms River. The New Jersey Devils, with mascot “NJ” and Devils alumni Bruce Driver and Grant Marshall showed up and surprised him with a contract, his own jersey, and a special video message from Tom Fitzgerald, General Manager and Executive Vice President of the New Jersey Devils. The video message addressed Reilly being selected in the draft and welcoming him onto the team.
“It’s overwhelming, it’s an honor to be a part of an organization that I’ve been following since I was three years old,” Reilly said. “Instead of dreaming to be a Devil, it’s now fun that I am a Devil now.”
Reilly thanked his parents for telling him to keep going and keep fighting through cystic fibrosis. He also thanked his CF doctor for keeping him healthy, allowing him to play hockey and making the smart decisions of when he can and can’t play.
“The odds were against me, but the way I think about it, don’t listen to the odds just reach and reach and reach and you’ll get there,”