Many players gathered for the Edmonton Oilers Players Charity Championship Golf Tournament at the Glendale Golf and Country Club Thursday in support of the Kids with Cancer Society. It’s no surprise that Ben Stelter, who passed away at age six Aug. 9 from brain cancer, remains front and centre in the minds of many.
Zach Hyman, one of several Oilers who became close to Ben and the Stelter family during the stretch drive to the playoffs and into the post-season – their appearance together at a post-game media availability was epic – talked about the impact Stelter made not only in Edmonton, but right across the country in a story written by Derek Van Diest of Post Media.
“Seeing his family (Wednesday) night, I got to speak with them and convey how much he meant to not just us players and the city of Edmonton, but I’m from Toronto and I have friends and family who ask me about Ben,” Hyman said. “So, he really did touch the entire hockey world and anybody who followed hockey knew of Ben Stelter and his journey.
“I was also able to meet other kids going through their own journeys and just see how positive they are. I think it really puts life into perspective and for us, and to be able to do something for kids like Ben means a lot to us players.”
PLAY LA BAMBA, BABY
“He was full of life, he was a character, any time you met him he didn’t shy away from the stage,” Hyman said. “I remember putting him up on the stage. He was answering questions like he had been there before and really controlling the media better than we do.
“I think that’s why so many people in Oilers nation really rallied around him, not just because of what he was going through, but of the kid that he was and all the energy he brought every day, even though he was going through so much.”
For me, and I’m sure many fans feel the same way, Ben Stelter is already an unforgettable little boy and a part of Oilers history. That said, I’m guessing the organization will come up with a way to honor Ben’s memory. Some fans have suggested there should be a place in the just-announced Oilers Hall of Fame at some point.
The first two inductees to join Oilers’ 10 HHOF members will be named by a selection committee Sept. 20 and will take their place inside Rogers Place before a Nov. 3 game against New Jersey. I’m not sure that’s in the cards for Ben, but that’s not my call. If you’ve got any thoughts on a fitting honor for Stelter, let me know.
This from Ben’s dad, Mike, today as the Oilers hit the ice for a pre-camp skate.
Previously by Robin Brownlee
- Call to the Hall
- Ryan Murray: Better Late Than Never
- Off the Top of My Head
- Sheldon Kennedy Chimes In
- Standing Pat
- Off the Top of My Head