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Maple Leafs cheer up young fan whose birthday was disrupted by pause

Matthews, Rielly among players who sent well wishes to Oliver Jenkins

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writer

Oliver Jenkins was supposed to celebrate his seventh birthday attending an NHL game and partying with friends and family.

Instead he spent it receiving birthday wishes from his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.

Maple Leafs players like Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, Kasperi Kapanen and Zach Hyman wished Oliver a happy birthday through Twitter on Sunday.

Tweet from @AM34: Happy birthday Oliver! You picked a good jersey number 👊

Tweet from @mriles4: Happy birthday!! Looking good in the blue and white, Pal!! 👊

The Jenkins are huge Maple Leafs fans in Belleville, Ontario, and Oliver turned seven Monday. Maple Leafs tickets were a bit out of the family's price range, so his dad Brad got tickets for their family of four (including his wife Arin and daughter Hayden) to see the Ottawa Senators host Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on March 18. 

"I had to ask him the unfortunate question, 'If we can't see the Leafs, who would you like to see,'" Brad Jenkins told "He took the disappointment like a champ and said 'Connor McDavid.'"

But the game was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, as was Oliver's party. He was supposed to have friends over to eat pizza, play hockey, and celebrate his big day Sunday.

"Naturally he was very disappointed when the game was canceled. It's hard for him to understand," Brad said. "He was even more disappointed, I think, about his birthday party. It's all he wanted to do."

That prompted Brad to share Oliver's disappointment on Twitter. The post eventually gained the attention of Maple Leafs players and public address announcer Mike Ross, who produced a custom goal call.

Tweet from @RossyOnTheMic: Happy Birthday Oliver!Go Leafs Go!#LeafsForever

The outpouring of support cheered up Oliver and his family, who are planning to attend a game in Toronto once NHL play resumes.

"He's been celebrating every time he gets a birthday greeting, especially from the Leafs. It's been a little emotional for me to see so many people, including some of his heroes, take the time to make his day special," Brad said. "I never expected such an amazing response, and I'm very grateful. We will always remember this birthday."

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