The toughest person on skates for the Anaheim Ducks home opener was a 17-year-old girl named Katie Hawley.
Hawley, battling cancer for the third time since her first diagnosis at just 9 years old, skated out on the Honda Center ice arm-in-arm with Corey Perry and her favorite player, Rickard Rakell.
She was named the "21st Duck" and received a loud ovation from the opening night crowd.
Hawley has had over a dozen surgeries, 30 radiation treatments, two dozen rounds of chemo and 40 blood transfusions.
It was the third diagnosis that really had Hawley down.
"When I got it the third time, I told my parents I was done. I didn't want to fight anymore," she said, in an earlier video interview before finding out she would be honored at the Ducks opener.
But she found her inspiration in other kids that were in similar situations. And that's when she got a special video message from Rakell. Later, the Ducks forward visited her at The Jesse Reese Foundation, where she volunteers.
Hawley was invited to Tuesday's practice and skated around with Rakell and some other players.
On Thursday night, she was escorted to center ice to join the rest of the team for a truly special moment to begin the new season.