When Dominic Elliott suits up for his Meramec Sharks hockey games, he tries to be just like his favorite hockey player - Blues captain Ryan O'Reilly.
But Dominic, 7, hasn't been able to play much hockey recently. In March 2020, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Since then, he has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments and although he is currently in remission, he still makes monthly visits to the hospital.
"He's one of the strongest kids I know," said his mother, Ashley Elliott.
With Dominic on the sidelines, O'Reilly decided to surprise him with a Zoom call last week. The two talked about O'Reilly's favorite places to play hockey, shared memories of the 2019 Stanley Cup championship and the team's championship parade.
"Dominic is normally a very chatty kid, but he was at a loss for words. He didn't know what to say (when O'Reilly called)," Ashley said. "He was so excited. Nothing could bring him down after that, he was just on top of the world, ear-to-ear smile.
"It brought tears to my eyes," she added. "It shows what a person Ryan is to stop what he's doing during the day and make a call to someone who looks up to him and watches him give his all. It certainly makes Dominic want to be just like him."
Video: O'Reilly meets Dominic
O'Reilly invited Dominic and his family to last Thursday's 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks. But what's even more exciting is that Dominic will announce the starting lineups before Monday's Hockey Fights Cancer game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
"As soon as we get the lineup, he'll be practicing," Ashley said. "He already has been at home."
Dominic is expected to complete his chemotherapy treatment in May 2022.
"He has a port in his chest right now, so he has not been able to play hockey," said his dad, Phil. "But once he's done, he's very excited to get back on the ice."