Canadian hockey personality and legend Don Cherry made a little boy's dream come true when he took time to say hello during a CHL top prospects game held at the Halifax Metro Centre last week.
Five-year-old hockey fan Owen Gale has spina bifida, a birth defect that involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord. Although he has to use a wheelchair and will never play typical hockey he has already tried sledge hockey and will continue with it. He loves hockey with all his heart and he loves hockey personality Don Cherry. He tells everyone to be quiet during Coach's Corner, a Hockey Night in Canada segment featuring Cherry and Ron MacLean.
"I used to lie him on my chest whenever there was a game," said Owen's dad Alex. "Saturday night is hockey night in our house."
When Owen's mom Megan found out Cherry would be in town she decided to post a picture of Owen dressed up in the Cherry outfit he wore for Halloween last year on Facebook hoping someone would help her get tickets to the game.
The picture went up on Tuesday evening and by the next morning it had tens of thousands of likes and shares.
"I hoped maybe someone out there would have contacts, but I never expect this. A ‘Dear Halifax' Facebook page got in touch with me and then (CBC's) Colleen Jones called and told us to be at the Metro Centre at 10 a.m. She said she couldn't get in touch with Cherry, but confirmed he was there, and that it was worth a try to go."
As it turned out, Cherry didn't know anything about the Facebook post, he just heard Owen calling out his name from the bleachers and walked up to meet him.
"He was so genuine and sweet," said Gale. "Very soft spoken. Not what you would expect."
They talked for at least 40 minutes and after giving him an autographed helmet and introducing him to Nathan MacKinnon — Owen's favourite Moosehead — Cherry promised Owen he would give him a thumbs up during his show.
Owen was excited to meet his hero, but was able to maintain his cool asking about Ron MacLean and commenting on Cherry's tie.
“I liked him a lot,” Owen said with a huge smile, still clearly excited by the experience. “He was really nice to me and he gave me a hockey helmet.”
Cherry stuck to his promise and on Saturday night during Hockey Night in Canada he shared pictures of their visit and told the country that someday Owen would "bring home the gold."