A 17-year-old teenage hockey player, Sam Tageson from Martinez, with a life-threatening heart condition finally saw his dream come true as he practiced with the Sharks in the NHL.
The youth was seen practicing and training with the Sharks this morning, and he will also be skating onto the ice with the team through the trademark shark head before San Jose’s tough game with the Florida Panthers, and standing on the blue line during the national anthem.
“No way to top today,” he told reporters in a press conference. His dream was made possible through an arrangement between the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Sharks Foundation.
Tageson has been diagnosed with a life threatening condition, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, having been born with two heart chambers, not four. However, the youth who is passionate about hockey continues to play the game against the wishes and advice of his doctors.
“It’s supposed to be debilitating,” said Lisa Mills, his mother. “They said he would be the child that would never ride a bicycle, never do any of that. He rides a skateboard. He plays hockey. The doctors all through the years have said give him golf clubs, take the hockey stick away. We tried. It doesn’t work.”
Eventually the doctors had to change their approach because the determined boy would not give up.
“Now, they’ve given up telling him no,” Mills said. “They say he’ll stop when he knows it’s time.”
Tageson, normally plays the position of goalie but skated without pads during the Sharks morning skate and trained and polished his own breakaway moves on backup netminder Alex Stalock.
Asked what Joe Thornton said to him sitting on the bench, Tageson replied excitedly, “He told me to move over and go out and score on Al.”
Tageson qualifies for a heart transplant, but is not currently on the waiting list unless his situation worsens and he is in a critical stage. The signs are all in his favor right now.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson also signed Tageson to a contract, appreciated his efforts, motivation and ambition, and participated in the morning’s events.