NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Promises were fulfilled when a 13-year-old made his first appearance on a National Hockey League bench before the Nashville Predators game last week.
This is not the last time you'll see Trace Kimler playing hockey. That was a promise he made even after he was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma last November.
"I have Ewing's sarcoma in my left scapula," said Trace Kimler. "I'm just like any kid if I had hair you wouldn't even know."
Trace's mom, Amy Kimler said her son is a fighter.
"Trace was the one who said, ‘hey guys I got this - don't worry about it, I'll be fine,' and we decided, well if he says he's got it then we know he's got it," said Amy Kimler.
Trace's battle with cancer and his love for hockey soon caught the attention of his favorite team, the Predators.
"He has such a big smile, when you see him - whenever you talk to him that gives you such a good feeling inside - his face light up when he talks to one of the guys," said Dan Ellis, Predators Goalie.
This was not the first time the Preds have fallen head over heels for a child.
"I think the players recognize the warmth he has - therefore we've adopted him a bit," said Predators head coach Barry Trotz.
Chase Donnell, also a cancer patient and also a Preds fan, got the invitation to sit on the team's bench before a game last season. Chase passed away just before the big game.
Earlier this month the Predators offered Trace the same opportunity.
"I'm going to get to be the stick boy during the warm-ups at the Predators game against the ducks tonight," said Trace Kilmer. "I'm really excited, also cause about Chase. I'm going get to fulfill two dreams tonight - mine and his."
When the Preds took the ice on March 24, Trace was there, waiting for them.
Trace received a game puck, a signed poster, and a Dan Ellis' goalie stick. The players said they got every bit as much from Trace.
"When he's pulling for us on the bench, you want to give your best, you want to give better than your best because of his presence." said Ellis.
Trace will have his entire scapula removed at the end of the month. He will only have half his original strength in his left shoulder after the procedure, but the surgery will have no effect on the strength of his heart.
"I don't think it will affect my play. I'll still be the beast that I am," said Trace. "I'm going to be in the NHL in a few years, look for me when I'm 18."
Trace said this is not the last time he will play hockey.
"His big thing is he's not sick. He's going through a battle - a fight whatever you want to call it, but he's going through it good and doing a great job," said Amy Kilmer.
Trace's big surgery is Tuesday. The Kimler family is keeping a blog of Trace's battle with cancer.