Ben Stelter, the six-year-old who captured hearts of Edmonton Oilers players and fans alike last season, has passed away.
“The world lost the most special boy and an absolute hero last night,” Mike Stelter, Ben’s dad, wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. “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.”
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
Ben battled glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, after being diagnosed when he was four.
He underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatment sessions to remove it, but the tumour returned before Christmas, prompting Ben to continue his battle with additional rounds of radiation.
#LetsGoOilers #oilers @OilersNation Meet Ben. He’s 4 years old and was just diagnosed with a brain tumour. He had brain surgery and is now recovering at home before he starts radiation. We can’t keep his stick out of his hands and it’s his dream to meet his hero Connor McDavid. pic.twitter.com/p5BCiEKIEy
— Mike Stelter (@m_dan25) March 30, 2021
Ben was introduced to Oil Country when he won hearts as the Scotiabank Skater in advance of Edmonton’s 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on March 25.
The Oilers won 10 straight games with him in attendance.
Ben was also presented with his own hockey card featuring him and Connor McDavid, as well as a larger replica signed by the Oilers, last week. His official trading card became available in an e-Pack for a limited time, with proceeds going to the Kids With Cancer Society.
“I had the opportunity to meet Ben earlier this year and just fell in love with him right away,” McDavid said in late March. “He lights up every room he’s in.”
We are mourning the passing of our dear friend, number one #Oilers fan, good luck charm & inspiration, Ben Stelter.
Although small in stature, Ben's impact on our team & community were massive.
Play La Bamba, baby. 💙🧡
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) August 10, 2022
The Calgary Flames put the Battle of Alberta aside to wish Ben well during their second-round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in May, and he received a standing ovation at Rogers Place before Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Colorado Avalanche in June.
“You truly changed the world and did so much good in your short time here,” Mike Stelter wrote. “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.
“We love you our sweet Benny boy.”