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Edmonton Oilers rookie honours mom with first NHL goal for hometown team

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Edmonton Oilers rookie James Hamblin has the hockey world talking.

The 24-year-old Edmontonian scored his first NHL goal for his hometown team Saturday night.

It was an especially meaningful moment for the forward in his sixteenth game as a member of the NHL.

After the goal, Hamblin pointed to his heart and then upward and appeared to say, "That's for you, Mom."

Hamblin's mother died of cancer in September 2017.

"I think I've had that celebration in the bank for a few years now," Hamblin said. "I think it was a weight off my shoulders to finally score the first one."

"It's super special, and I know she's in my heart, she's on my back," he said. "It's hard to not get emotional about it."

Hamblin's self-proclaimed oldest fan was also feeling emotional at that moment.

"As a kid, he was driving me crazy because he was always hitting the puck around everywhere," said Hamblin's grandmother, Hanna Simon.

Simon said she's seen all her grandson's goals, but Saturday's topped them all.

"You really cannot imagine it," she said. "It's so wonderful … Days after, I'm still celebrating."

Simon describes Hamblin as a happy person, who is always smiling.

It's a personality that's winning over his teammates and new coach.

"I'm rooting for him because he's playing hard and he's doing all the little things," said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch. "To see him score the goal was great.

"I said to him on the bench, 'Was that 250 or 25?' Just the quality of the shot, it looked like he did it all the time."

"It's unbelievable," said Hamblin's fellow Oiler Darnell Nurse. "The amount of work he puts in, the presence and the smile he brings to the room every day … he's really earned everything he's gotten." 

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