The Dallas Stars defeated the Las Vegas Golden Knights in their NHL series, sending the Sin City-based players home from the bubble. Jon Merrill did not help his team win a championship, but he did embrace the opportunity to see his family once again. He even surprised his three daughters in a heartwarming surprise video.
Merrill's fiancée, Jessica, posted the clip on Twitter. She showed the three daughters standing outside their home in the driveway. The garage door slowly began to open, revealing Merrill standing next to an SUV. The excited trio immediately rushed into the garage and hugged their father while yelling "daddy!" One of the daughters even began to cry due to the excitement.
"Daddy, did you win?" one of the daughters asked, referencing the NHL playoffs. "No, but I'm home," Merrill responded. While the Golden Knights did not secure the Stanley Cup, the star player did showcase his excitement about being reunited with his loved ones. The fans also expressed joy after watching the clip.
"'Did you win??' 'No..' I disagree, my man. You absolutely won," one person commented on Twitter. Several others expressed similar sentiments after watching the video. They proclaimed that the championship is less critical at this point in 2020. Spending time with family is far more important.
Merrill played in one game during the postseason and recorded an assist. He will soon become a free agent after playing out a two-year, $2.75 million contract. Merrill doesn't know if he will remain in Las Vegas or head to a new team, but he can rest assured that his daughters are excited to spend a lot of time with him.
With the NHL and NBA both taking place in bubble situations, the players expected to spend considerable time away from their families while pursuing championship trophies. This situation certainly played out as expected for Merrill and the other members of the Golden Knights, but some of the NBA's stars were able to enjoy playoff visits. The league released a memo saying that a limited number of family members and longtime personal friends could travel to the Orlando bubble to visit the playoff teams.
According to the memo, the players could each only have a total of four people visit them in light of health and safety concerns. Additionally, each team only had 17 available rooms for these guests. Many players took advantage of this opportunity and brought their loved ones to Orlando — although Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James only had his wife visit. He had his kids remain in Southern California due to the lack of activities available.
"I mean, I've got a 16-year-old. I mean, he's going to sit in the bubble and do what?" James said to reporters per Yahoo Sports. "I've got a 13-year-old. He's going to do what? Five-year-old girl, there's nothing for her to do. The park isn't open. I mean, there's only so many times she can go to the pool. My kids are too adventurous, and they love to do so much stuff.
"It makes no sense for them to be here," James continued. "There's nothing for them to do here. Go outside. Come back in. Go outside. Come back in. They can stay in L.A., and they're great. There's literally nothing for them to do here. This is not a kid-friendly place. Let's be honest."