Flyers sign Lancaster teen battling cancer to 1-day contract
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Flyers and Make-A-Wish on Friday granted a Lancaster County teen battling cancer an unforgettable wish by signing him to a 1-day contract and giving him an immersive Flyers experience.
15-year-old Blake Steigauf was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma on Apr. 24, 2019 and had surgery to remove a tumor.
"Luckily it wasn't anything too bad and we caught it early," Blake said.
As a lifelong Flyers fan, and a hockey player himself at Manhein Central High School, Steigauf wanted nothing more than to meet his idols and visit the team's practice facility.
The Flyers, in partnership with Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Delaware and Susquehanna, did Steigauf did one better.
Not only did the Litiz, Pa. teen get to attend practice and a game, visit the team locker room, eat lunch with the team and meet his favorite player, Claude Giroux. Steigauf was also surprised with two full days of professional player-level treatment at the Wells Fargo Center.
"You can see that he's been playing and he's got a good shot," said Giroux. "I gave him my stick. Those sticks don't score a lot of goals, but hopefully he can change that."
Blake got to lace up his skates and practice alongside the Giroux and the rest of the team on Thursday. The team arranged to give Blake his own locker complete with a personalized jersey at the team's practice facility in Voorhees, NJ.
"Most of it was kept a secret," Blake said. "I was told the tiniest things, I need a suit and my hockey equipment."
Following practice, Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher presented Blake with a one-day contract to join the roster for Friday's game against the New York Rangers.
On game day, Blake will dress with the team and lead them onto the ice. Blake will take a "rookie lap" around Wells Fargo Center ice and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the team for the National Anthem.
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