The Good Sport: 9-year-old with cerebral palsy plays hockey for the first time

Yahoo Sports Staff
Yahoo Sports is taking a weekly look at the true spirit of sport — highlights, miracles and acts of kindness that will warm your heart and go beyond the game.
Yahoo Sports is taking a weekly look at the true spirit of sport — highlights, miracles and acts of kindness that will warm your heart and go beyond the game.

The news can be depressing at times. Thankfully, the sports world usually isn’t.

Yahoo Sports is taking a weekly look at the true spirit of sport — the highlights that will warm your heart and the acts of kindness that go beyond the game.

Youngster with cerebral palsy hits the ice

(CBS3//CBS Philly)
(CBS3//CBS Philly)

The ingenuity of a local coach may have changed the life of a young hockey fanatic with cerebral palsy.

Nine-year-old Ryan Roper of Delaware had spent his whole life watching his sister play the sport. However, due to his condition, he never had the muscle mass necessary to support himself while skating on ice.

After hearing about his situation, Chad Everett — a police detective and volunteer coach — got to work.

“I felt terrible and I wanted to do something,” Everett said, according to CBS Philly. “I knew I could do it so I just wanted to help the kid.”

His solution was a PVC rectangle with skis on the bottom and a harness attached from above that would take the weight off of Ryan’s legs while allowing him to hold a stick.

Dan Koob of CBS Philly caught one of Roper’s first times using the device on camera in early May.

Since then, Roper has hit the ice on a number of occasions and a recent story from ABC 7 News on his progress has caught plenty of attention.

“I really, really go fast,” Roper told CBS in May.

Beyond the speed he’s experienced and the feeling of belonging that the Washington Capitals fan now gets to enjoy, Everett’s contraption may have plenty of long-term benefits for Roper as well.

"This thing that he says only took him an hour to build has opened up a huge window for my son," Roper’s mother, Meghann, shared with ABC 7 News. "We were actually talking about the physical therapy of it, and over time, it could strengthen his legs enough that he might able to stand on his own."

If that were to become a reality, Roper’s favourite player, Capitals’ goaltender Braden Holtby, better be careful. Now that Ryan has a taste for scoring goals, there’s no reason to believe he’ll want to stop firing pucks into nets anytime soon.

Boston mayor pens heartfelt letter to Blues superfan

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 12:  Colton Parayko #55 of the St. Louis Blues and Laila Anderson celebrate with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game Seven to win the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 12, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Colton Parayko of the St. Louis Blues and Laila Anderson celebrate with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game Seven. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Superfan Laila Anderson became a sensation during the Blues’ improbable Cup run, and not just in St. Louis. Not even close.

The eleven-year-old, who suffers from an incredibly rare immunodeficiency disease called HLH, was a staple at Blues games from the Western Conference final onward, and was even medically cleared to travel to Boston for her squad’s Cup-clinching performance in Game 7.

No matter where your allegiances lie, everybody was and is rooting for Laila. The Mayor of Boston — and avid Bruins — Martin Walsh is no different, and he took it up a level by penning a letter congratulating young Laila on her Blues’ first Stanley Cup championship. Click here to read more.

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