The doctors said Sam Tageson would never ride a bike, that his heart condition meant he should play golf instead of hockey.
The 17-year-old from Martinez, Calif. has defied them since the age of six, refusing to give up his love of the game despite having been born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a life-threatening condition that means he has two heart chambers instead of four, The San Jose Mercury News reported.
On Tuesday, his favourite team, the San Jose Sharks signed him to a one-day contract arranged by the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Sharks Foundation.
The day began with Tageson signing his contract in the presence of Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, NHL.com reported.
From there, he took part in every aspects of the Sharks' daily routine, including a team practice where he beat backup goaltender Alex Stalock through the legs in a one-on-one rush.
That night, he became the first non-active NHLer to skate through the shark's head as the team practiced before a game against the Florida Panthers at the SAP Center.
Tageson then stood with the team for the national anthem and was shown on the scoreboard, triggering a raucous reception from the crowd.
He tearfully saluted the crowd from the bench, capping off a day that no hockey fan could ever forget.
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