WESTVILLE ROAD - A die-hard Maple Leafs fan dropped the puck at the WearWell Bombers bantam home match against the Bedford Barons Saturday night.
Oliver Smith, an Antigonish boy living with cancer, made a wish to see a Leafs game in Toronto through the Children’s Wish Foundation – and the WearWell Bombers are backing his dream.
“Oliver’s wish actually is to meet the Toronto Maple Leafs and possibly skate with the team, but each of the major bantam teams do a fundraiser for the Children’s Wish Foundation, so he’s their wish kid for the evening,” said his mother Shauna Grant Smith.
Before he fell ill, Smith was an avid hockey player, but started suffering unusual pains that interfered with his ability to play.
He was subsequently diagnosed with stage IV Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. From February to September, Smith was treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation at the IWK in Halifax.
Being in hospital meant that Smith was no longer able to play hockey and had to watch playoff games from small hospital TVs and it was this that led him to ask the Children’s Wish Foundation to see a Leafs game.
Indeed, his family has something of a history with the Leafs, as Smith’s late grandfather was selected for a tryout with the 1969 squad.
Smith himself started playing hockey at just five years old and won awards for his efforts on the ice.
Shauna said that her son is currently feeling and looking well, but is being monitored for symptoms and will be re-evaluated by doctors every three months.
“He’s doing good and feeling good and looking good, so we’re going to go with that,” said Shauna.
However, Shauna said that her son had always been “a very humble boy,” who found the attention garnered by his cancer diagnosis and subsequent hockey dream difficult to handle sometimes.
The Bombers won Saturday’s game 6-0.