Edmonton Oilers remembers young fan Ben Stelter: “So strong, so brave, such a fighter”

Members of the Edmonton Oilers shared their sadness and memories of a special fan Thursday after six-year-old Ben Stelter passed away after a battle with brain cancer.

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Beloved Oilers fan Ben Stelter dies after battling cancer: ‘The world has lost the special boy’

“He was an amazing little guy who lit up every room he was in,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid.

“This is a very tough day for the entire Oilers family, all of the fans, but most of all for the family,” he said. “It’s just a terrible day and we’re thinking of the whole Stelter family.”

When he was four years old, Ben was diagnosed with glioblastoma – an aggressive form of brain cancer. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor, as well as multiple rounds of chemotherapy and dozens of radiation sessions. However, last December the tumor returned and Ben began further rounds of radiation over the winter.

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His family announced that he passed away Tuesday night.

“The world lost the most extraordinary boy and an absolute hero last night,” his father Mike Stelter said in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday. “Ben, you were the best son we could ever hope for and you were my best friend ever.

“Our hearts have a Ben-sized hole in them and life will never be the same without you. We are absolutely devastated. We love you, our sweet Benny-Boy.”

Ben captured the hearts of the team and the hockey world with his viral videos cheering on the team. A huge Oilers fan, Ben dreamed of meeting McDavid. The two met last fall and then, in March, Ben skated to the center ice with his hero for the anthems.

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“Ben meant so much to me and my teammates,” McDavid said Thursday. “I will certainly not forget the relationship that has developed over the course of about a year.

“Sharing that moment with him… seeing his face, being close to him… Not many people experience what ice feels like, how it sounds. It was pretty loud there. Experiencing that with him was very special for me and something I will always remember.”

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McDavid said he fell in love with Ben and his entire family after they first met.

“I just loved being around him.

“Just such a great kid. So strong, so brave. Watching someone go through that… especially a five or six year old kid, that was so inspiring. He was such a fighter.”

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Edmonton Oilers inspired by a young superfan battling brain cancer

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Zach Hyman shared memories of when Ben joined him for a post-game press conference.

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“He wasn’t nervous or shy at all. He was ready to go on stage, excited to go on stage.

“Some players would be nervous in front of a room full of media. This guy was excited, a huge smile on his face.

“Someone asked him who his favorite player was, and he looked at me and said, ‘Connor,'” Hyman said, laughing. “They really had a special bond.

“The fans all chanted his name. That was a really cool moment… something I’ll cherish forever.”

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Ben, Hyman agreed, had a special energy about him.

“If either of you met Ben, you know… he lit up every room. You wouldn’t know what he’s been through just by meeting him. He always had a smile on his face… He was such a good kid.

“He touched the entire hockey world. He will be greatly missed. He’s such an inspiration to all of us. What he went through puts everything into perspective,” Hyman added.

“We will miss him very much.”

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The Calgary Flames show support for Ben Stelter, the 5-year-old Edmonton Oilers superfan who is battling brain cancer

Calgary Flames show support for Ben Stelter, 5-year-old Edmonton Oilers superfan battling brain cancer – May 20, 2022

Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said the loss has hit the team hard and they all send their deepest sympathy and condolences to Ben’s family.

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“As a father myself, I experience the influence that professional athletes have on children. But what I found really interesting about our time with Ben was how having a kid impacted an organization and a team.

“I was struck by the courage of a young man who defined what a bright light is,” said Woodcroft.

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“It has put a lot of things into perspective for a lot of people when it comes to defining what’s important in life. To see the courage this young man had to fight, what he had to fight and the lessons to be learned from him.

“We lost a little boy who showed nothing but courage on a daily basis (and) he could inspire a team, he could inspire a city.

“It was special for me to see the impact he had on so many people. I know I’m just grateful for the time I got to spend with him. We have lost a bright light, but his spirit will live on.”

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The Edmonton hockey community continues to come together for Ben Stelter

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https://globalnews.ca/news/9052950/edmonton-oilers-ben-stelter-mcdavid-cancer/ Edmonton Oilers remembers young fan Ben Stelter: “So strong, so brave, such a fighter”


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