Teary goodbye for tiny Sens fan

AEDAN HELMER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

Even the skies were crying for Elgin-Alexander Fraser.

At precisely 4 p.m. yesterday, just as the last of nearly 800 mourners filed solemnly into the Carleton Place Arena for the young boy's funeral, the gathering storm clouds opened and the rain began to pour down.

The three-year-old boy died Saturday after a lifelong battle with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer that affects the nervous system.

He died mere hours after cheering his beloved Ottawa Senators to victory and the team's first modern-era berth in the Stanley Cup final.

Elgin grew up a die-hard hockey fan, and received the thrill of his young life when in April, just as the Senators were preparing to host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs, the little boy was invited to a team practice.

Flanked by parents Hamish and Victoria Fraser, Elgin trotted out on the Scotiabank Place ice surface, where he was greeted by the team.

That day, Elgin developed a special bond with his two favourite players, forward Mike Fisher and defenceman Chris Phillips.

Both Fisher and Phillips took time out from their busy schedules -- tomorrow the team flies to California, where they face the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of the final on Monday -- to lead the funeral procession into the arena.

Phillips made a surprise visit to the Fraser home last month to play road hockey with the boy on his third birthday.

Fisher visited Elgin on a day off last Thursday. The boy was too weak from his illness to pick up a hockey stick, though, so the two watched a movie together and played with toy cars.

SPECIAL CONNECTION

"(Fisher) has a connection with Elgin," Victoria said earlier this week.

"You see it in both Elgin and Mike when they see each other. It's pretty touching. There's a deeper connection there than just Mike being a hockey player doing his duty. I think Elgin's really touched him personally."

As the service continued, rain battered the roof of the arena, falling so heavily that it threatened, at times, to drown out the eulogy from Elgin's grandfather, Kirk Fachnie.

When Elgin was first diagnosed with cancer, Fachnie told the crowd, his hockey coach dad asked doctors if his son would ever get to play the sport he so loved.

"The answer was no," said Fachnie, "but we all know that isn't true. He played hockey almost every day."

A few chuckles echoed through the arena as Fachnie re-enacted Elgin's road hockey pre-game ritual.

Mimicking his Ottawa Senators heroes, Elgin would lead a rousing chorus of O Canada before every shinny match.

"At the end," said Fachnie, "he'd raise his stick and say, 'Game on.' "

As the Senators prepare to get their own game on, an entire city is hoping they can win one for Elgin.


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