Oskar Lindblom played a Stanley Cup playoff game. From the moment the announcement was made that Oskar Lindblom would be in the lineup for Game Six, I did not have the words to express the joy I felt. I had been transformed from a grown woman who normally had too many words, back to the pre-schooler at her first Flyers game, not even tall enough to see over the boards without help. There were no words then, and last night, there were no words once more.
When Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a very rare, deadly bone cancer, I was sure the hockey gods were going to strike vengeance upon the Flyers once again. So many young men, so many tears: Yannick Dupree, Barry Ashbee…Pelle. All taken too young, not just from hockey, but from their families and friends. So much tragedy, so much pain.
I am not the dewy eyed young girl that mourned Pelle; I am the mother to an 18 year old son myself; Oskar is only a few years older. This time, I cried for Oskar, for his youth, his health, but I also cried for his mother. The pain she must have been feeling, worrying and watching as her son went from living his dream to the hell of fighting cancer. Being a parent changes you that way, it does.
As 2019 turned to 2020, I followed Oskar’s progress. I prayed for him, for his family, his teammates. As the season was put on pause, and then the play button was pressed again, Oskar was making strides in his treatment. He rang the bell, symbolizing the end of his treatments. He skated alone at the Flyers practice rink, raising all kinds of alarms that he was risking his life. Surely the risk wasn’t worth it, there was no way he would play a game this season.
When the Flyers went to the bubble and put Oskar on their roster, I was certain it was just so that he could be included in the crazy that has been this season of Covid. When he took to the pregame skate on August 30th, I was again sure it was just so he could be included. The series was not going well, there was no way the Flyers would play long enough for Oskar to make it into the line up. I was sure.
The Flyers did the impossible; they won Game Five in overtime, forcing game six. As I went about my evening, prepping for what could possibly be the last game of the season, I of course had the pregame on. The announcement that Oskar Lindblom would play in Game 6 brought tears to the eyes of professional sportscasters, so it was no surprise that little old me was crying like a little girl. When my husband and son arrived home from work, they both thought that the game was over and that the Flyers had not forced Game 7.
Upon hearing the news that Oskar would be in the lineup, I sent the Instagram story to my manager, who happens to be an Islanders fan. His response was that the Flyers were “cheating morals wise” and that there was no place for Disney movies in hockey. I didn’t respond, I was still very much overjoyed at Oskar’s inclusion in the lineup.
As the game progressed, we bantered back and forth a bit more, much as we have during all of the games in the series. I bemoaned the lack of power on the Flyers power play and cussed Matt Barzal, he marveled at the quantity and quality of saves that Carter Hart was making.
Shortly after Ivan Provorov buried the game winning goal in the second overtime, I received this text: “A broken stick. Now I think a higher power involved”. That statement got me thinking….could the hockey gods, after all the tragedies that they have visited upon the Flyers, finally be smiling on this team? To save the life of this young man, this beautiful, talented soul surely divine intervention was required. Dare we dream, boys and girls?
I do see the Disney Movie, the sequel to “Miracle”, the story of the 1980 United States Mens Hockey team; the team that defeated the Big Bad Russian Machine and captured the gold medal, defying all odds to do so. Oskar’s story certainly deserves to be that sequel. All that we need now is the very happiest of endings; the one where Claude Giroux hands that Cup, the most storied trophy in all of sports, to Oskar Lindblom, Miracle. So let it be written….so let it be done.
by: Phyllis Hunter (@flyersfan1129)
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter