This is the best hockey story of the year.
24-year-old Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom made his return to the lineup in Game 6 against the New York Islanders on Thursday following his cancer diagnosis in December.
Lindblom last played an NHL game on Dec. 7 against the Ottawa Senators after it was announced on Dec. 13 that he had been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Lindblom completed his treatment on July 2nd and joined the Flyers in the Toronto bubble on Aug. 11.
While he didn’t play Game 4 against the Islanders, the hockey world was in disbelief when they saw Lindblom take to the ice for warmups not even two months after officially completing his treatments.
After being diagnosed with cancer in December, Oskar Lindblom skates in warmups with the Flyers ahead of Game 4. Awesome story. pic.twitter.com/slYu9BDbYK
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) August 30, 2020
Lindblom became the feel-good story for Game 6 when it was announced by the team that we officially in the lineup and would be playing in his first game back exactly 265 days after his cancer diagnosis.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 3, 2020
Here’s a look at Lindblom skating in warm-ups ahead of his return:
This is unreal. pic.twitter.com/hJ33VPJxhT
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) September 3, 2020
Lindblom’s return provided a big emotional boost to a Flyers team that was down 3-2 in the series and requiring a victory to stave off elimination. During a TV timeout in the first period, Lindblom received stick taps from both benches in an awesome moment of sportsmanship.
Unreal moment. pic.twitter.com/HBIc3y6H4s
— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) September 3, 2020
The NHL also welcomed Lindblom back with “Welcome Back Oskar” images shown on the screens across Scotiabank Arena during the game.
— NHL (@NHL) September 3, 2020
Here’s an awesome photo of Lindblom smiling on the bench with teammate Jacob Voracek. It had been a very long time since Flyers fans had seen that smile on the bench in an actual game.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 4, 2020
Lindblom finished with two hits and one blocked shot in 17:30 of ice time. He also saw 3:30 of power-play time with top forward Sean Couturier out of the lineup due to injury. Blueliner Ivan Provorov scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to help the Flyers force Game 7.
“I was trying to think positive thoughts throughout the whole chemo,” Lindblom told reporters following the game. “I knew I’d play one day, but I didn’t know when. Today was the day, and I was lucky to be out there and be with these guys.”
“This guy’s heart, you have to see it to believe it,” Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux said of Lindblom following the game.
No matter what team you cheer for, Lindblom’s story is one that any hockey fan can get behind.