Alex Skiffington laces up between two of his favourite players, Daniel (right) and Henrik Sedin.
Eight-year-old Alex Skiffington knows what it is to make a wish and have it come true.
On Wednesday he took to the Rogers Arena ice in Vancouver with his favourite team, the Vancouver Canucks.
“Unbelievable,” is how his father, Mel Skiffington, describes the experience.
Alex has a rare genetic disorder called Job Syndrome which affects the immune system. He has some other health issues, as well, including a host of allergies.
“He has lived a pretty hard life overall,” his father says.
It was brought up to the Skiffingtons on more than one of Alex’s trips to the hospital that he could make a wish through Make-A-Wish Canada, but the idea didn’t sit well with his parents at first.
“I think for us it was hard for us to accept it, that he could be a kid who qualifies for it,” Mel says.
But as time went on and Alex was faced with more and more challenges, they looked at the opportunity in a different light.
“We just said, ‘he needs something’.”
Wednesday morning Alex walked into Rogers Arena with his family after being flown to Vancouver by Make-A-Wish Canada. Just inside the door former Canuck, Trevor Linden, greeted him. Inside the Canuck’s dressing room, the whole team was waiting for him and even had a stall done up with his name above it.
“He walks in and they all give him a big standing ovation and high fives and everything. It was wild,” Mel says.
Alex then got a tour of the arena from his favourite player, Daniel Sedin, before getting laced up and hitting the ice with the team.
“They took him out an they had a scrap game. Alex got to score a goal on Ryan Miller,” his father says.
Daniel’s brother, Henrik Sedin, must have wanted Alex to pick him as his favourite player over his brother. He gave Alex the puck he used to score his 700 career-assist just a few nights prior. Then Alex hit the ice again with just the two Sedin brothers.
“He practised shooting and stuff with them. They were giving him some tips. I betcha he was out there close on an hour with just the two Sedins,” says Mel.
The big name sports journalists interviewed him the in locker room afterwards. As an extra add on, that evening Alex joined the Vancouver Whitecaps FC — a Canadian professional soccer team as their assistant trainer and brought the Canadian flag onto the field.
The entire experience had Alex wiped out the next day, so much so The Telegram had to settle for getting the whole story from his father.
“He’s as tough as a bag of rocks,” Mel says.
Along with being the wrong character to mess with on the ice, Alex is of independent mind, too. His father is a Flyers fan.
“Well I’m a Canucks fan now,” says Mel.