The Voice of Wakefield High School

Connor McDavid

To many, Connor McDavid’s 2022 was yet another year of accolades, winning yet another Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL in scoring and helping guide his team all the way to the Western Conference Final, but ultimately coming up short to the eventual Stanley Cup champions against the Colorado Avalanche. 

Along this entire journey, there was a very special boy, Ben Stelter, a six year-old Edmonton Oilers superfan who fought a long and courageous battle with brain cancer, while cheering on the Oilers the entire way. Stelter unfortunately passed away on August 9, 2022, and while he may not be around to cheer the Oilers on, his impact is still very felt, especially by McDavid.

Stelter first came onto the scene with the Oilers, and more specifically McDavid, back in the pandemic during a quick visit to the Stelter household, but the bond became even stronger on March 24, 2022 in a game between the Oilers and San Jose Sharks when Stelter got to skate out with the Oilers and stand with McDavid during the national anthems. From this point, Stelter constantly cheered on the Oilers. Fans were loving the videos of Stelter saying “Play La Bamba baby,” and the players felt his impact. 

The Oilers would carry this momentum into the Stanley Cup playoffs where Stelter’s cheering would only get stronger as the team progressed through the tournament, defeating the Los Angeles Kings in the first round and then sweeping the Calgary Flames in the second round. The Oilers then went on to the Western Conference Finals where they themselves were swept by the Colorado Avalanche. Despite the heartbreaking end, there were many positives to look back on. McDavid, in 16 playoff games played, put up a team-leading 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points, the most points out of the entire playoffs. Stelter also never failed to see the positive side of things, with his message at the end of the run being “Good try Oilers, we’ll get them next year!”

Fast forward a few months, and Ben would unfortunately succumb to his cancer, and pass away. His death was heartbreaking to the entire hockey world, but more specifically McDavid and the Oilers. McDavid not only spoke about how heartbreaking his passing was but also donated $100,000 to the Ben Stelter Fund, which is meant to help fight cancer and continue Stelter’s loving legacy. The impacts McDavid made on the ice were incredible and the new impacts on the community and specifically the life of one very special boy were simply touching.

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