ST. PAUL, Minn. - For most hockey players, it's all about the pre-game ritual.
"It definitely brought me back," Carter Casey said. "Taping up a stick before a game, getting ready to whoop some butt."
Just over a year ago, the biggest battles for this 16-year-old from Breckenridge were on the ice. These days, Casey's facing a very different kind of fight.
"He has actually been told he's in remission two times," Shanna Casey said. "Two weeks ago, we found it returned."
"Just started chemo last Wednesday," Carter said. "I'm just looking forward to getting rid of it."
A rare muscle cancer has likely cost Carter his high school hockey career. However, on Sunday, Carter was part of a team once again thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Minnesota Wild.
"We have a new player in town, and we’re going to make sure he’s part of our group," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Carter’s had a little bit of rough luck lately. It’s my honor to be able to sign this [contract] and have you be part of the Wild. I know you’re going to help in any way you can to bring us the championship this year.”
With that, this life-long Wild fan's wish to join the team for a day came true.
"Watching the Wild now after this is going to be even better," Carter said.
The experience though was just getting started. Carter also received a tour of the Xcel Energy Center, a game jersey, a chance to walk on the ice before the game and a spot in the penalty box to watch warm-ups.
"We've been through such a whirlwind and such a roller coaster the last year and a half," Shanna said. "This has been such an amazing day just to watch the smiles and happiness in [Carter's] face."
The biggest smile of the day came after the game when Carter finally got to meet his favorite player, Erik Haula. In the locker room, Carter received his own name plate and Haula presented him with his hockey stick.
To make things even better, the Wild also won. The perfect ending to a perfect day for the team's new good-luck charm.
"I'm thinking Stanley Cup," Carter said. "I want a ring."
Sunday also marked the 5,000th wish Make-A-Wish has granted.
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