Last week, a rumor broke that Lindblom was nearing the end of his treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma, a very rare bone cancer that the 23-year-old was diagnosed with back in December. This rumor turned out to be false, however, according to numerous reports, his treatments are still going very well. Out of respect for him and his family, there shouldn’t be any more speculation on any update on his treatments, however one bright point is the support he has received. The entire NHL community continues to rally around his diagnosis, bringing together the idea that some things are just much bigger than hockey.
“I don’t know how I would handle what he’s going through, and he’s handled it with professionalism,” teammate Kevin Hayes said in March. “He brings everyone into a happier place. If you’re having a bad day, you don’t have a bad day anymore when you see Oskar.”
Before the announcement of his cancer, Lindblom was one of the flames igniting the red hot Philadelphia Flyers. His 18 points in 30 games sat toward the top of the team. However, what was missed the most about Oskar was his personality and overall presence by the team.
Bill Masterson Trophy
According to NHL.com, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is an annual award under the trusteeship of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and is given “to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
Perseverance. Sportsmanship. Dedication to hockey.
Oskar Lindblom rings all three bells.
The youngster has fought a battle with cancer. As many people probably realize, cancer is the worst thing on the planet. For him to be successfully battling this monster of a disease, while keeping a smile on his face, proves his perseverance.
Sportsmanship, the next of the qualifications for this award, define Lindblom’s personality on the ice. Just by the eye test, he plays the game the right way. No dirty plays, Oskar simply is a competitor night in and night out. Off the ice, his maturity gleams. As noted in Liam Jenkins’ ‘Tales from the Press Box’ series, Lindblom has a contagious personality that radiates positivity.
Dedication to hockey is the easiest one to talk about here. His performance on the ice shows his competitive nature and passion for the game. However, after being nominated, Oskar relayed a statement to the media that displays his desire to get back on the ice, as well as shows his appreciation for all of the support he has received:
I’m honored to be nominated for this special award by the Philadelphia PHWA chapter. This past season has been a difficult one for sure, but the positive support I’ve received from my family, my girlfriend, teammates, the Flyers organization and Flyers fans has been a tremendous help and inspiration through these times and I look forward to the day I’m back on the ice.
I was very touched to see how many people, whether they support the Flyers or another team, were wearing #OskarStrong T-shirts. I continue to feel your support.
Oskar is a special kid. His health is worth way more than anything else, so the idea of him getting back on the ice before him even being considered ‘cancer-free’ is ignorant, in my opinion. However, assuming he can win this battle, he will continue to be a key person in that Flyers’ locker room on and off the ice.
This nomination is a great way to honor his courage through this past season. As well deserved as winning this award would be, the biggest victory is yet to come for this kid.
Let’s all continue to stay #OskarStrong.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre