The Short of It
A 12-year-old boy helps his visually impaired father keep his passion for hockey alive by being his eyes at games.
Gerry Nelson is a big fan of the WHL's Saskatoon Blades. So when he lost his eyesight in 1998 to diabetes, the hockey lover started listening to the games on the radio. He may not have been able to see the ice, but he still got to experience the play-by-play.
That is, until he attended a preseason match-up in person earlier this year with his 12-year-old son Wyatt. The game wasn't broadcast on the radio, so Wyatt stepped in and started calling all the shots so his dad wouldn't miss any of the action.
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Last week, a video of Wyatt and Gerry that showcased their amazing father-son hockey bond went viral. It ended with the two getting a chance meeting with the Stanley Cup after a Blades game.
After former Blues player and current KMOX radio analyst, Kelly Chase, saw the clip, he and general manager Doug Armstrong invited the pair to an upcoming playoff game. They got to attend the morning skate, meet Blues assistant GM and goaltending legend Martin Brodeur, and—here's the best part—Wyatt got to call part of the Blues-Sharks game with radio man Chris Kerber.
"At 12 years old, I don't think I could have done what he just did, not in front of that many people and on the air," Gerry told NHL.com's Shawn Roarke afterward. "Calling a Western Hockey League game is one thing; the NHL is something entirely different. I'm so proud of him. I think he just rocked it."
Watch the video of Wyatt in action.
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This is one of the sweetest stories I have ever heard. It takes a very special 12-year-old to step up for his dad in such a big way, and not just with hockey. In the summer, the duo trade in the ice rink for the golf course, where Wyatt caddies for his dad, who just happens to be an elite golfer.
It's pretty amazing. And the resulting bond the father and son now share is a priceless one—as is the major life lesson that Wyatt says his dad has taught him.
"Never give up," Wyatt told the Global News. "He could have sat around and done nothing. To get out and have a job, have a home, golf, and be exceptionally good at it, that's incredible."
We couldn't agree more.