After some back-and-forth with the Children’s Wish Foundation, it was revealed to a local family that they will be attending an NHL game when the Ottawa Senators take on the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 29 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.
And what’s more, 11-year-old Billy Adams will be dropping the puck during the ceremonial faceoff prior to that game. His mother Ivy said that she wanted an experience that was especially for Billy and nobody else.
When we visited the Adams', Billy was sitting in his wheelchair at his home on the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie watching the film adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
“He’s playing hooky today,” said Ivy.
Billy, affectionately known as “Dozer” by his classmates at R.M. Moore Public School, lives with cerebral palsy. He is unable to walk or talk, and is fed through a tube. He’s very prone to pneumonia, said his mother, so going to school is out of the question for today.
Billy was wearing an Ottawa Senators jersey, his favourite team of the National Hockey League.
“Every time the Senators play he kicks, he screams. He literally kicks his chair across the floor,” said Ivy. “He’s non-verbal and he knows the difference. It has to be the Senators.”
“I can’t say enough about (Children’s Wish Foundation),” said Ivy, “trying to accommodate not just Billy, but the whole family. They’re paying for everything – the flight, the hotel, they give him spending money for the days we’re there. We’re very, very, very fortunate.”
“Hey, why not see if he can drop the puck at a Senators game, because money can’t buy that,” said Ivy. “And just to see the look on his face, it’s going to be amazing for him.”
The Children’s Wish Foundation has also arranged for Billy to be part of the team’s ‘Sens Skills’ competition scheduled for New Year’s Eve.
“They want to bring him out on the ice and participate in the fastest skater (competition),” Ivy said. “Some of the Senators are going to push him around on the ice.”
“I told them the faster the better, because he’s a speed demon,” she laughed. "He loves it.”
Ivy placed a hockey stick in Billy’s hands, and his eyes lit up. She said her hope for the new year is for Billy to gradually work his way to communicating with his family members.
She said that his love of the Ottawa Senators is definitely a positive sign.
“That’s what’s great about this, the fact that he picked his own team, and he’s so excited, gives us hope and inspiration that communication is definitely achievable for him.”