'True warrior': Oilers superfan Ben Stelter, 10, mourned after death from cancer
The six-year-old boy became a beacon of positivity and perseverance for the team on and off the ice, especially during the NHL playoffs
Ben Stelter, a passionate Oilers fan who lost his battle with a rare form of cancer on Wednesday, August 10, has left hockey fans in deep sorrow. The six-year-old boy was diagnosed with brain cancer last year and became a beacon of positivity and perseverance for the team on and off the ice, especially during the NHL playoffs.
Earlier, Ben’s father Mike Stelter wrote on Twitter, “The world lost the most special boy and an absolute hero last night. Ben, you were the best son we could ever hope for and you were my best bud ever. Your sisters were so lucky to have you as such a sweet brother. You fought so long and hard and beat so many odds. You truly changed the world and did so much good in your short time here. Mom and I are so proud of you. You had a bigger heart than anyone we’ve ever met. Our hearts are left with a Ben-sized hole in them and life will never be the same without you. We are absolutely crushed.”
Ben had the opportunity to see the team's locker room and skate onto the ice at Rogers Place for the national anthems in late March. Ben traveled to California to see the playoff game when the team met the Los Angeles Kings, giving each player a fist bump before they stepped onto the ice. Since the news of Ben's death became public, tributes have been pouring from the hockey community and beyond. The Oilers said in a statement that Ben was a devoted friend, their number 1 fan, and lucky charm.
The world lost the most special boy and an absolute hero last night. Ben, you were the best son we could ever hope for and you were my best bud ever. Your sisters were so lucky to have you as such a sweet brother. You fought so long and hard and beat so many odds. pic.twitter.com/HWibnZKOxC— Mike Stelter (@m_dan25) August 10, 2022
According to NY Post, the statement reads, “Ben came into all of our lives at a time when we needed some hope and inspiration. Although small in stature, Ben’s impact on our team and community was massive. At a time when he was going through his own struggles with his illness, he and his family gave us their time and their friendship, allowing us to get to know Ben and be touched by his charm, his courage, and his infectious giggle. He was such a huge part of what made last season so special to all of us and forever more we will play La Bamba in his memory.”
Ben you’re a true warrior and are such a inspiration to all of us. Your strength, determination, courage and love beamed through the hockey world and especially our team. I’m going to miss your fist pumps before the games. To the Stelter family we send our love and support. https://t.co/x2ohXLA7OS— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) August 10, 2022
The club expressed their deepest sympathies to Ben's family and said that he would always be a member of the Oilers family. Ben was also referred to as a ‘true warrior’ and an inspiration by Oilers left winger Evander Kane. Kane wrote on Twitter, “Your strength, determination, courage, and love beamed through the hockey world and especially our team. I’m going to miss your fist pumps before the games. To the Stelter family, we send our love and support.”
NHL also published a statement that was posted on their official Twitter page. The statement reads, “The National Hockey League family is deeply saddened by the passing of Ben Stelter, a truly special young man whose adoration for the Edmonton Oilers was matched by their love for him. Ben’s courageous fight with brain cancer and his joy when attending Oilers games touched and inspired so many. We send our heartfelt condolences to the Stelter family.”