San Jose Sharks, Make-A-Wish help make ill teen’s hockey dreams come true (videos)
Sam Tageson, a 17-year-old hockey player had one of his dreams realized on Tuesday when he took part in practice with the San Jose Sharks and took part in pregame introductions before the team played the Florida Panthers.
Tageson suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition that may one day require the 17-year-old to undergo a heart transplant.
Despite the direness of his condition, Tageson has not allowed it from living life as he chooses.
“It’s supposed to be debilitating,” Lisa Mills, his mother, told the Mercury News. “They said he would be the child that would never ride a bicycle, never do any of that. He rides a skateboard. He plays hockey. The doctors all through the years have said give him golf clubs, take the hockey stick away. We tried. It doesn’t work.”
Mills also said that doctors no longer try to put constraints on the young man.
“Now, they’ve given up telling him no,” she said. “They say he’ll stop when he knows it’s time.”
The San Jose Sharks Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation teamed up to help Tageson realize his NHL dreams. The Sharks signed the young man to a one-day contract and he spent the day practicing, hanging out with the players and best of all, took part in the pregame introductions, becoming the first non-player in team history to skate through the Shark mouth before lining up with the team at the blue line for the national anthem.
Matheson was overcome with emotion during his amazing experience.
“No way to top today,” Matheson told reporters.
And while the Sharks ended up coming up short in the game, losing 3-2 (although Matheson almost spurned a comeback as the Sharks scored on the following shift after he was shown on the Jumbotron to cut Florida’s lead to 3-2), several players, notably Brent Burns and Jason Demers, took to Twitter to comment on how a brave young man and the dignity, strength and perseverance he demonstrates puts things into perspective.
Tough game but amazing to see what hockey can do… Touching night to see Sam fly outta the shark…amazing experience at the tank
— Brent Burns (@Burnzie88) March 19, 2014
Disappointing to lose tonight really wanted that one for Sam Tageson… what a great kid and makes you appreciate what you have! #rolemodel
— jason demers (@jasondemers5) March 19, 2014
Awesome. What a touching scene.
[H/T Puck Daddy, Pro Hockey Talk]