"It was almost like it was meant to be," DeLaet said Tuesday.
The 33-year-old from Weyburn, Sask., had two tickets to Monday night's Game 3 of the Cup final, but no-one to accompany him, so he headed down to the United Center in Chicago hoping to make someone's night.
DeLaet was picking up his tickets at the will call window, when he spotted Lars — DeLaet only knew his first name — standing a couple of feet away, holding a sign that read: "I NEED 1 TICKET. GET STANLEY CUP FINALS OFF MY BUCKET LIST."
"He'd driven down from Wisconsin, it was a three-and-a-half-hour drive and his buddies all thought he was crazy and his plan was to go and wait around and hopefully somebody would give him a ticket," DeLaet said.
"My plan was, one of my buddies was going to come down from Saskatoon, but the flight schedule didn't work out. So I had an extra ticket and my plan was just to give (it) to someone, and make their day, and it was a perfect opportunity."
DeLaet was scheduled to play in U.S. Open sectional qualifying Monday in Columbus, Ohio, but withdrew, citing the toll a 36-hole qualifier would take on his body. So he attended the hockey game — a 3-2 victory for Tampa Bay over Chicago — instead.
"It was neat that I was able to go to the NHL finals, the Stanley Cup finals (Monday) night and I was able to make a guy's year almost. He was pretty excited," DeLaet said on a conference call. "He wanted to pay me for the ticket and I told him no, you can just come as my buddy for the night. So it was pretty neat to be able to do that."
DeLaet posted a photo of the two before they headed into the arena, writing "Stanley Cup Finals with my new bud Lars! Here we go!"