Edmonton Oilers rookie James Hamblin made a touching tribute to his late mother after scoring his first career NHL goal on Saturday afternoon.
After lighting the lamp from the hashmarks, Hamblin, 24, removed his mouthguard, kissed his glove, pounded his heart several times and pointed upward while mouthing "that’s for you mom," as he looked toward the sky.
Hamblin’s mother, Gina, passed away from cancer on Sept. 6, 2017.
"My initial thoughts went straight to my mom," Hamblin told reporters post-game. "I think I’ve had that celebration in the bank for a few years now."
In the days leading up to her death, Hamblin, not selected at the previous years draft, was invited to attend Boston Bruins development camp. Hamblin contemplated not going — but Gina wouldn’t allow him to pass up the opportunity. Six years later, Hamblin has played in 16 NHL games and now has one very memorable goal to his name.
"It’s super special. I know she’s in my heart and on my back," Hamblin said. "It’s hard to not get emotional about it but just really fortunate that went in."
James Hamblin talks about his first NHL which he dedicated to his mother who passed away in 2017 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/l345sPhUt1
— Woz (@itsWozzz) November 19, 2023
Hamblin, an Edmonton native, signed an AHL deal with the Bakersfield Condors for the 2020-21 Covid-shortened season after recording 92 points in 63 games with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers the year before. After tallying 50 points in his first 102 AHL games, Hamblin inked an entry-level contract with his hometown team ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
He split last season between Bakersfield (28 points in 52 games) and Edmonton (0 points in 10 games). This year, though, Hamblin has been off to his best start at the pro level to date — recording five points in his first six AHL games before being recalled.