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Teen hockey player with heart condition goes pro for a day

Doctors told him at age 6 he couldn't play, but he did anyway.


Elizabeth Robinson


Posted on Mar 20, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 2:49 pm CDT

On March 18, the San Jose Sharks signed a new member to their team, 18-year-old Sam Tageson. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Tageson became a professional hockey player for a day.

Tageson was born with a hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a life-threatening heart condition in which his heart has two chambers instead of four. He began playing hockey when he was 6 years old, despite doctors’ orders. “They’ve given up telling him no,” Lisa Mills, Tageson’s mother, told the San Jose Mercury News. “They say he’ll stop when he knows it’s time.”

Tageson practiced with the team in the morning, but the cherry on top of his perfect day came when he skated out of the tunnel at Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers with the rest of the team and stood on the ice for the national anthem. The honorary contract signed by Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson was the first in franchise history.

The resulting standing ovation and Tageson’s reaction might be enough to make even the toughest hockey player soften his icy exterior.

Screengrab via NHL/YouTube

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*First Published: Mar 20, 2014, 1:23 pm CDT