It’s a familiar theme.
Pro hockey players dedicating their careers to their parents, who sacrificed so much to make sure they got to enjoy the game they love.
Unfortunately for Adam Ollas Mattsson, his mother, Elizabeth, wasn’t able to see what a fantastic young man, and terrific professional hockey player her son has become.
She passed away six years ago after a battle with cancer.
On Saturday during Stockton’s Stick it To Cancer night – which featured a game against the San Antonio Rampage, and raised funds for a local hospital that specializes in cancer treatment – it was one touching tribute after another for the Swede.
Prior to the game, Ollas Mattsson walked into the locker-room and was surprised to find his lavender cancer jersey hanging there – with an ‘A’ on its chest.
“Credit goes to Andrew Mangiapane … that’s his ‘A’, and he was graceful enough to give it up,” Heat coach Cail MacLean said. “Adam is someone we have a lot of appreciation for, we know his mother meant a lot to him, and it was really appropriate to give (the letter to) a young man who carries himself really maturely (and) has demonstrated leadership qualities.
“Out of team pride, let’s give him the ‘A’ and let him represent us.”
That was just the start of a memorable night for Ollas Mattsson.
One by one, 10 Heat players came out to auction their special jerseys off to the highest bidder after the game.
Curtis Lazar … gone. Andrew Mangiapane … gone. Jon Gillies … gone.
Stockton’s fan favorite Ryan Lomberg … gone.
But after signing their jerseys for the buyer and posing for a photo, a handshake or hug, they all stayed out on the ice.
Finally, the last jersey of the night and out pops Ollas Mattsson.
‘Do I hear $300?’
A shout emerged from the ice.
“$300,” Mangiapane said.
‘Do I hear $350?’
The nod came from the crowd.
“I had no idea until the bidding started and the guys started saying numbers,” Ollas Mattsson said. “I was wondering what was going on and then it dawned on me.”
‘Do I hear $400?’
“400,” Lazar said.
And this continued on until the auctioneer said, “SOLD!”
To his Stockton Heat teammates.
For him to keep.
“It is a crappy part of life and with Adam’s situation losing his mom and stuff… I can’t relate to that,” Lazar said. “I am sure it is not easy. Mangiapane gave his letter to Adam tonight and (as a group) we bought the jersey for him as a little keep sake.”
A shocked Ollas Mattsson stood for a moment on the ice before an embrace with Lazar and Mangiapane.
“It was a class act of the boys,” Ollas Mattsson explained. “I have a lot of respect for these guys and it really means a lot to me. It’s been six years now, so you get used to living with it, but you have tough days back in your bed crying all day.”
“Life’s not easy, but I appreciate my teammates, friends and family more. You take a lot more value of quality time with friends and family.”
The Heat may not have been able to stick it to the Rampage on the evening – falling 4-0 – but they stuck it to cancer.
And for Ollas Mattsson, it was night that he’ll never forget, and a night we know a mother’s love still filled her son to the core.
And that jersey that will hang on the wall in Ollas Mattsson’s house for the rest of time.
That’s the ‘thank you for everything’ dedication from him to his mom.