In case you missed the news yesterday, Edmonton Oilers superfan Ben Stelter passed away from terminal brain cancer.
The six year old boy fought long and hard against the disease, but his father Mike Stelter posted to social media that Ben had passed away peacefully.
The Oilers adopted Ben as a bit of a mascot this past season and openly invited him into their inner circle to be part of team meetings, practices and even road trips. The little boy who loved the Oilers more than anything had his dreams come true, simply be being welcomed to the team. In doing so, he truly opened all of our eyes about what it's like to be a young, adoring hockey fan. To me, Ben represented the purity of this game and the reason why I fell in love with it back when I was a child.
RIP, Ben. Your time on this planet may have been short but the impact you made on this team and its fans will live on forever.
Today, Oilers captain Connor McDavid, forward Zach Hyman and head coach Jay Woodcroft went live on social media to discuss Stelter's impact on the team and to give him a bit of a tribute.
Check it out:
It's clear that Ben made a real impact on these players and I absolutely believe McDavid and Hyman when they talk about how important Ben was to the team's players. This wasn't a case of guys just smiling for the camera and putting on the "role model" act in front of fans. They had a genuine connection with Ben and they didn't hide their emotions when talking about what he meant and will continue to mean to them.
I imagine that the Oilers organization will have a proper celebration of life for Ben once the 2022-23 season begins, similar to what they've done for Joey Moss and Colby Cave in recent seasons.