An NHL commentator covering the San Jose Sharks in California was nearly speechless after seeing the dream of a teen with a life-threatening heart condition come true this week.
“Total goosebumps, a total emotional scene here. I’ve never seen anything so touching in five years of covering this team,” the commentator said.
Sam Tageson, a 17-year-old who is a huge Sharks fan, not only played out his dream this week, but he made a first in the NHL team’s history: he skated through the San Jose Shark’s head onto the rink.
The Sharks with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation signed Tageson for a one-day contract Tuesday. Skating through the shark’s mouth onto the rink, the NHL reported, is the the first time in the franchise’s history that anyone who was not an active player for the team passed through the giant replica.
Watch Tageson’s touching reaction to the roar of the crowd screaming for him at the SAP Center Tuesday where he practiced with the team:
Hockey was something Tageson was never supposed to play, but according to the NHL, it’s something he has taken up since he was 6 years old.
“It’s supposed to be debilitating,” Lisa Mills, Tageson’s mother, told the San Jose Mercury News of her son’s heart condition, hypoplastic left heart syndrome. “They said he would be the child that would never ride a bicycle, never do any of that. He rides a skateboard. He plays hockey. The doctors all through the years have said give him golf clubs, take the hockey stick away. We tried. It doesn’t work.
“Now, they’ve given up telling him no,” Mills continued. “They say he’ll stop when he knows it’s time.”
As for his time playing with hockey elite on the ice, Tageson told the NHL that he considers it “a once-in-a lifetime experience.”
As for Tageson’s heart condition, the Mercury News reported that while the teen qualifies for a heart transplant, he won’t be put on the list until he actually needs it, which the newspaper noted is a good sign for now.