Kids with life-threatening health issues meet NHL All-Stars

BY foxsports • February 1, 2016

Ryan Smethurst brandished a big smile as the 16-year-old joined his family in making the lengthy trek to the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville, Tenn.

The Calgary (Alberta) natives had no issue going the extra mile, considering the many they've traveled as Ryan fights an ongoing battle after being born with a congenital heart defect. Although more surgery awaits, Smethurst was able to celebrate a memorable weekend with Flames All-Stars Johnny Gaudreau and captain Mark Giordano - courtesy of The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada.


"Because I really like the NHL, I was thinking about my family if I wanted to do a family trip. My mom said I should do a trip I like, so I (chose this one because I) get to meet all the players."

Definitely a smart move as Smethurst spent time with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin among many other NHL All-Stars.

Smethurst was not alone as he joined 6-year-old Nevan Coburn of Vancouver, British Columbia, 11-year-old Wyatt Morisette from Calgary, 14-year-old Jonathan Pitre of Ottawa as guests of The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. Jack Traxler, a 13-year-old from St. Paul, Minn., was a guest from Make-A-Wish America.

The five were able to meet the players and have their jerseys signed, as well as attend the skills competition on Saturday and the All-Star Game itself the following day.