Connor McDavid, the renowned NHL player, recently claimed his third Hart Trophy, solidifying his status as the league’s most valuable player. However, this year’s honor held a deeper significance for McDavid than his previous wins. During the NHL Award ceremony in Nashville, a special group of individuals presented him with the coveted trophy, leaving the superstar astonished.
The Heartwarming Gesture By The Stelter Family
Hailing all the way from Edmonton, the Stelter family made the journey to Nashville to be present for this memorable occasion. Their presence touched McDavid ‘s heart profoundly, as they had become an integral part of his life and the lives of Oilers fans. This bond formed when McDavid forged a close friendship with their beloved 6-year-old son, Ben, who tragically lost his battle with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in August of last year.
A Budding Friendship Amidst Adversity
In March 2021, Ben was diagnosed with glioblastoma, embarking on a challenging 18-month fight against the relentless disease. It was during this difficult period that fate intervened, bringing McDavid and Ben together. Their connection was instantaneous, and they quickly became the best of friends, offering each other solace and support during trying times.
An Emotional Acknowledgment
As the announcement of McDavid’s victory reverberated through the ceremony, the gravity of the moment overwhelmed him. Standing on that stage, surrounded by the Stelter family, McDavid expressed his genuine surprise and gratitude. Emotions welled up within him as he addressed the audience, “Wow, that was an incredible surprise, and it means so much to me to be standing up here with the Stelters. Thinking about our buddy, Ben.”
Presenting the MVP Award
As per New York Post , Ben’s loving parents, Lea and Mike, along with his sisters, were present to bestow the prestigious MVP award upon McDavid. The significance of this gesture extended beyond the realm of hockey, symbolizing the enduring impact Ben had made on the lives of those around him. It was a poignant reminder of the profound connection between sports and the human spirit.
From Superfan to Endearing Symbol
Ben’s unwavering dedication and enthusiasm for the Oilers made him a beloved figure in Oilers country. His love for the team propelled him to be invited as the flag bearer before a crucial game against the San Jose Sharks on March 24, 2022. Standing beside his favorite player, Connor McDavid, during the national anthem, Ben experienced a moment that would forever be etched in his heart.
A Touching Gesture
During a postgame press conference, Ben found himself seated next to Zach Hyman, further solidifying his status as an endearing fixture within the Oilers’ community. His infectious spirit became a good-luck charm for the team, especially during their astonishing playoff run to the Western Conference Finals. McDavid recognized the impact Ben had on the team’s success and dedicated their playoff journey to his memory.
An Admirable Performance Cut Short
As fate would have it, the Oilers’ admirable playoff run came to an end in the second round at the hands of the eventual champions, the Vegas Golden Knights. Despite the disappointment, the team and their fans found solace in the memories shared with Ben and the strength he exuded throughout his battle.
McDavid’s Remarkable Achievement
In the midst of sorrow and loss, Connor McDavid emerged as a beacon of excellence. His second Hart Trophy in the past three years further solidifies his position as one of the most outstanding players in the NHL. Beyond his remarkable skill on the ice, McDavid’s compassionate nature and genuine connection with his fans, exemplified through his bond with Ben and the Stelter family, embody the true spirit of sportsmanship.