BEDFORD: The Bedford Sports Bridge Barons major bantam hockey team had a little extra motivation for their game on Oct. 1 at the BMO Centre in Bedford.
Five-year-old Wish Child Sam Dewey of Fall River was on hand to drop the ceremonial puck before the Barons, which includes two players and a coach from the Fall River/Windsor Junction area, game against the Pictou County-based Wear Well Bombers.
The game was the annual Children’s Wish Wishmaker game that sees each home team in the Nova Scotia Major Bantam Hockey League don Children’s Wish Foundation of Nova Scotia Wishmaker jerseys and hold a puck drop with a locally chosen Wish Child. They couldn’t have a chosen a more worthwhile recipient for this game than Sam, even if his favourite NHL team is the Montreal Canadiens.
“I’m really excited for this,” said Sam as the moment to head to the BMO Centre Pad D ice approaches. “I’m ready to drop the puck. Sometimes I forget how to do it.”
At the age of two, the ball of energy Sam was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). After three years and many treatments, he has been given the all clear.
“He has just finished treatment,” said mom Wendi, who along with Sam’s dad, brother, and sister were there to take in his moment. “He’s been doing great. He’s been granted a wish because of his illness.
“Hopefully within the next year we will get to go to Disney and Sam will get to meet some of his favourite characters.”
As a Wish child, Sam is granted a wish. For him, that was simple—to go to Disney world, and there’s a good reason for that.
“I want to see Mickey Mouse, because he’s so funny,” he said.
Wendi said the diagnosis three years ago came as a shock.
“It sort of changes your life,” she said. “This becomes the new normal, but he’s been a trooper and he’s been great going through the treatment. His brother and sister have been great supporting him.
“It’s a bit overwhelming. It’s not something you would want anyone to have an illness like this to get their wish.”
When he was asked who his favourite hockey player was, two Barons stood out.
“I like Luke,” he said. “I also like him (as he pointed to fellow Fall River product, Barons goalie Jonathan Pickrem).”
Before the Nova Scotia Major Bantam Hockey League game, Sam—a Grade Primary student at Ash Lee Jefferson Elementary School in Fall River—got a chance to tour and talk with first the Bombers, who gave him a mini hockey stick emblazoned with the Hockey Canada logo. He then visited the Barons dressing room.
It was easy to see the impact the little youngsters visit to the players before the game had on the Bedford players as they listened in to what he had to say in only the way a child could say. The Barons presented him with a “Future Barons Prospect” t-shirt.
Wendi said the support from the Fall River community for the family has been great and is appreciated.
“We have a great support network of friends in our community who have been very helpful, not only for us as a family but for Sam as an individual and his brother and sister,” she said. “It’s been wonderful.”
The Barons, who won the game 4-1 over the Bombers, held a toonie toss during the second intermission for a signed Jonathan Drouin puck donated by Sports Bridge. They raised $1,041 from the fundraiser for Children’s Wish.