Ice dream for child

Mike Fisher skates with Elgin-Alexander Fraser, 2, during the Senators practice in Ottawa on...

Mike Fisher skates with Elgin-Alexander Fraser, 2, during the Senators practice in Ottawa on Wednesday. (Sun Media/Sean Kilpatrick)

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

He stepped on to the ice near the end of their practice, clutching a stick and flanked by his two favourite wingers, and almost every Senator immediately noticed.

They took turns skating over to say hello, and those who were closest when he put a shot between Ray Emery's legs, well, they celebrated just as they will if one of them scores tonight.

You could imagine how good that made them feel, how good they made him feel, but those in the stands who had just learned his story wanted to cry more than they wanted to cheer.

A day before Sid "The Kid" Crosby and his Penguins arrived to do battle at Scotiabank Place, the Senators met a three-year old kid from Carleton Place named Elgin-Alexander Fraser and his two wingers, dad Hamish and mom Victoria.

A week before the Senators are to begin the NHL playoffs, the three-year-old child provided them with another cold, harsh reminder that the game they play is just a game, and of what it really means to face elimination.

RARE CANCER

Elgin-Alexander has neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. He's been through all the treatments -- radiation, chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant in Toronto -- and after a year of remission, the disease is back with a vengeance.

There is a tumour that engulfs the entire right side of his upper torso. It's in his spinal cord, between the vertebraes. He is coming off four days of emergency radiation to just to prevent him from becoming paralyzed.

A do-or-die hockey game? Please.

Last Tuesday, Elgin-Alexander's parents were told there's nothing anybody can do, that their little boy is going to die in less than two months.

"We feel a little weird ... we're actually quite grounded," said Hamish, a 30-year old sheet metal worker.

"We knew it might happen, and it did, so we're okay with the death. You have to deal with it. You've got to accept it and move on.

"We have a daughter (six-month old Alysston) too, and you can't just hide away and stay away from people.

'THREE WONDERFUL YEARS'

"People need to know about it. We're not afraid to talk about it. He's going to die, yeah, but we had three wonderful years with him. He's touched more people just the way he is.

"The worst thing we're having right now is we don't know how he's going to decline. We're a little scared about that.

"We're trying to make it comfortable for him ... see that he won't lose his legs and let it take its course. That's our goal for now. Just to make sure he can still walk.

"It sucks, but you've got to deal with it."

How did Elgin-Alexander come to meet the Senators? Unable to take him to Disney World because of his condition, the Frasers were introduced to Chris Phillips and his wife Erin through a mutual friend.

The veteran defenceman, an honorary chairman of Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, asked the team if the Frasers could drop by practice. No problem, he was told. And so they did, with grandparents and great grandparents in tow.

When Erin took a family photo in the stands, Elgin-Alexander was responsible for the loudest "cheese!"

"When you see things like that now, as a parent, you couldn't imagine being in that situation," said Chris, the proud papa of Ben and Zowie. "You take it for granted when you're at home. But after spending a morning with (the Frasers) and seeing how strong they are ... you can't even tell what they're going through.

"They're the happiest people in the world just being out here today."

The Senators visit hospitals all the time. Seeing sick kids never gets easy, but they realize the good it does.

"One of the saddest things in the world is to see a young kid like that," said Dany Heatley. "Everyone knows the situation. But I think all we can do is try and be happy, and make him have a good day. He was having fun out there on the ice."

Hamish Fraser is in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 1996-97 Kemptville 73s team that went an entire season (38-0-4) without losing a game. He coaches kids hockey now, and he's passed his love of the game on to Elgin-Alexander.

"He absolutely loves it," Hamish said of Elgin-Alexander as his one and only son played mini sticks in the corridor outside the Senators' dressing room.

"I didn't think all the players would be out there. I was telling my wife, 'they're not just going to stop what they're doing. It's playoff time. These are very important games. They're not going to be focusing on that sort of stuff. It's game time no matter what day it is.'

"I know Mike Fisher, I see him all the time at the hospital, so I assumed he'd probably stick around. But it ended up pretty much everybody took a turn going down to play with him. That was pretty good."


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