Upper Deck unveils special card of young Oilers fan diagnosed with cancer

May 16, 2022
Inspiration
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Image Source: https://www.nhl.com/

Ben Stelter was presented with his very own Upper Deck trading card Thursday for his part in the Edmonton Oilers’ success this past month.

Stelter, the 5-year-old who has glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, has become a lucky charm for the Oilers since introduced to the team, and joined them on the ice for the national anthems before a game against the San Jose Sharks on March 24.

“We really thought that night it was just going to be him skating and then that was it,” said Ben’s mother Lea Stelter. “We didn’t think he was going to get to fist-pump them or go into the dressing room after the game. Everything beyond him skating was extra, and amazing.”

Edmonton is 8-0-0 at home with Stelter and his family in attendance as they prepare to host the Sharks at Rogers Place on Thursday.

Stelter joined the Oilers on the ice prior to the morning skate and was then presented with his own trading card from Upper Deck, featuring him and Edmonton captain Connor McDavid.

“The moment that we saw what the Oilers were doing with Ben, we knew that we had to make him a trading card,” Amanda Whitaker-Smith, hockey marketing coordinator for Upper Deck said. “Ben’s story is incredible and he deserves to have a card. Ben’s card is a Heroic Inspirations card, which we have done with some other people in the past.”

Stelter was diagnosed with a brain tumor just over a year ago, and went through four rounds of chemotherapy and 30 sessions of radiation to remove it. The tumor returned in December and Stelter is undergoing more radiation treatments.

“This has been surreal, the Oilers have been so amazing to him,” Ben’s father Mike Stelter said. “They’ve been a world class organization for how they treated him. We didn’t expect everything to blow up as it has, but they’ve helped make it happen with him along the whole way.”

What was to be a one-time visit has turned into regular attendance at Oilers’ home games. Stelter will again be in attendance Thursday against the Sharks, but will miss the regular-season finale against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday as the family is departing on a trip to Disneyland in California.

“It was a cool experience for him and for us to have him out on the ice today and talk to him after a little bit, he had a lot of fun,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “He’s been a real inspiration for us. You can tell, we’ve been rallying around him and we see him in warm-ups and we see him after the game.”

For the Oilers, having Stelter and his family around helps put things in perspective as they prepare for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers will finish second in the Pacific Division and play the Los Angeles Kings in the opening round.

“I think for most guys in there, it’s a little dose of reality, to realize there’s bigger things out there than hockey,” Oilers forward Derek Ryan said. “We’re trying to build up for a playoff run here, but at the end of the day, there are a lot of things bigger than hockey, so it brings that into the locker room for sure.”

Story Source: https://www.nhl.com/news/upper-deck-unveils-special-card-of-young-edmonton-fan-ben-stelter/c-333520882

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