Eleven -year-old Ottawa Senators fan Billy ‘Dozer’ Adam of Sault Ste. Marie got what his mother calls a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ this weekend, when he dropped the puck before the Ottawa Senators’ home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets this past Friday.
Adam, who lives with cerebral palsy, was provided with an all-expense paid trip to watch his favourite NHL hockey team at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa courtesy of the Children’s Wish Foundation.
His mother, Ivy Adam, says the weekend for Billy began on Friday when Aaron Robinson, director of fan and community development for the Senators, took Billy, his parents, and his two siblings for a guided tour of the arena and dressing rooms before the team’s practice.
Billy then got a chance to meet team captain Erik Karlsson, who presented him with his very own personalized Ottawa Senators hockey jersey.
“As the Senators came off the ice from practice, they all walked by Billy, signed his jersey,” Ivy said. “They gave the other two kids T-shirts and hats and signed everything.”
“Even when we did the tour, the players were so patient, so personable and compassionate,” she continued. “We sat and talked about Hatchimals [the popular kids toys] with Craig Anderson, one of their goalies. It was awesome.”
Billy was then wheeled out to centre ice to drop the puck before the Senators game, and then got to watch his favourite team with his family in a box suite.
“They won, and they’ve been kind of in a little bit of a losing slump, they said that Billy was their good luck charm.” Ivy said. “So they invited us back to the game on Saturday when they played Boston.”
When the Senators took to the ice the following night, Billy and his family got to sit in the alumni suite with former Ottawa Senators players Fred Barrett, Rick Smith and Rob Murphy.
“It was amazing, a fully catered booth all to ourselves, with people that used to play for the Senators. It was amazing. We felt like royalty,” said Ivy.
And if that all wasn’t enough, Billy even participated in ‘Sens Skills’, an annual hockey skills competition, on Sunday. He did a lap around the ice for the fastest skater competition - with Erik Karlsson pushing him in his wheelchair for half a lap, and Senators’ defenceman Dion Phaneuf taking over and pushing him for the other half.
“He didn’t stop moving the entire time. He was screaming, laughing, giggling,” said Ivy. “The excitement on his face, you could tell that he actually understood and got the measure of what was going on, this experience, and how it’s once in a lifetime. It was all about him.”
“I can’t thank enough both the Senators and the Children’s Wish Foundation for putting that smile on Billy’s face today. I cried like a baby.”