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Ducks Host Special Family for Skate at Honda Center

The Upton family skated with 21st Duck Angelique Fong and special surprise guest Teemu Selanne

by Ducks Staff /

Selanne surprises Upton Family

Selanne surprises Upton at Honda Center private skate

Vanessa Upton, a breast cancer survivor, and her family are overjoyed when Teemu Selanne surprised them during a private skate at Honda Center

  • 03:35 •

After hearing about 35-year-old Vanessa Upton's difficult battle with breast cancer, the Ducks connected Upton with this season's 21st Duck, Angelique Fong, a two-time breast cancer survivor herself.  

With another random act for Fong's Radiate Kindness initiative (she began with 33 acts of kindness for each of her 33 radiation treatments), Angelique and the Ducks surprised the whole Upton family with a private skate at Honda Center earlier this week, including a surprise appearance by Teemu Selanne.

"It was just awesome to come out here and make these memories for them," an emotional Vanessa said. "This last year and a half was really hard, so to be able to have this has been awesome. 

"So many special memories have been made in this arena, so it's just really special for the Ducks to do this and give us these memories and this time to spend here together. It really makes a difference. There are not many things they'll remember forever, and this is one of those moments." 

Vanessa's husband John was equally touched by the experience. "This all just started with a phone call to my ticket rep to see if I could get a Hockey Fights Cancer jersey for Vanessa, and they just ran with it," he said. "There was no request for anything, so it was very special. We certainly didn't expect to see Teemu."

The arrival of Selanne was an extra special surprise, as he skated with the family and gave hockey instruction to the kids while sporting one of the Ducks' "Breakout" throwback jerseys, which he wore in the mid-'90s. 

"It was magical, incredible and he was just so great with the kids and all of us," Fong said. "We just had an amazing time. 

"All we really want is to have the kids be happy, to make memories for a lifetime, and it's obvious that's what took place today. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I'm so honored to have been a part of it."

In the photo above: (Top row, L-R): Angelique Fong, John Upton, Vanessa Upton, Teemu Selanne. Bottom row: Arthur Upton (sitting on seal), Caden Upton (standing in front of his mom), Brady Upton (sitting on seal) and Wild Wing

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