CHICAGO – When Nicholas Skretkowski stepped on the ice, he looked like a lot of 4-year-olds do on skates. A little wobbly, but confident. He could skate with a little extra confidence knowing that he was taking the ice with his idol.
Skretkowski was the guest of the Chicago Blackhawks and his favorite player, captain Jonathan Toews. Before the Blackhawks took the ice Friday at the outdoor rink set up at Soldier Field for Saturday's Stadium Series game between the Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins, Skretkowski got a little one-on-one time with Toews.
Both clad in the Blackhawks' new black jerseys, each with a 19 on the back, the pair skated around one end with Toews setting up little Nicholas with a few passes for goals.
Skretkowski was there as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation as he has a medical condition called Wilms' tumor, as well as strabismus, according to NHL.com. He traveled to Chicago with his parents from their home in Milton, Ontario.
In addition to his skate with Toews, Skretkowski had his own locker in the Blackhawks' dressing room, stationed right next to the captain. He even was part of the team picture on the ice at Soldier Field and walked out with a jersey his size signed by the whole team.
It's always great to see athletes take the time to make dreams come true like this. For Nicholas, who says his favorite TV show is “hockey,” his skate under the stars at Soldier Field with his hero will stay with him forever.