December 13th, 2019 is the day the Philadelphia Flyers fans first heard the news about Oskar Lindblom. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma and would begin treatment shortly after. It was shocking to nearly everyone, myself included, to hear that someone like Oskar who always seemed so positive and invincible could be dealing with something so serious.
While hockey fans and the hockey community were reeling from the news of Oskar’s diagnosis his own team was dealing with it all while on a road trip. Numerous sources (most recently Sports Illustrated) have reported that the team medical services, Jim McCrossin, had received the news of while the team was in flight for Colorado. He chose to keep the news to himself until they arrived and then shared it with Oskar. Oskar wasn’t alone during the process at all when he was told. He had Robert Hagg (teammate and fellow Swede) and Alain Vigneault (head coach) by his side.
When the team was told the news, they vowed to the media that every win would be for Oskar. It was obvious to everyone who paid attention that this team cared so much about their own and especially Oskar who was always a positive light in the locker room.
Oskar and girlfriend Alma Lindqvist were in attendance at the first home game after the diagnosis. Needless to say, as expected the Flyers honored Oskar with signs for fans to hold up and a video to let him know everyone was behind him during the hardest fight of his life. When the team showed him on the jumbotron the crowd cheered just as loud, if not louder for Oskar to show their support.
According to an article recently in Sports Illustrated, outside of vowing wins and wearing shirts, the Flyers were supportive in other ways as well. Shayne Gostisbehere sent some exercise equipment and dumbbells for Oskar to use while recovering. The team had a exercise bike sent as well as taking turns to have full meals delivered to Oskar and Alma during the six months of treatment.
Nearly every team that played the Flyers this season ordered an Oskar Strong Shirts from Biscuit Tees and posted a picture in them to show their support for Oskar during his battle. It was nice as a fan to see teams and fans looking past the rivalries and everything else to support Oskar through his battle.
The tee-shirts from Biscuit Tees were also sold to fans and quickly sold out due to fans wanting to show their support. At the time of me writing this piece, Biscuit Tees is still currently selling the shirts. Proceeds of the shirts go to benefit Ewing’s Sarcoma.
On July 2nd Oskar Lindblom and the Flyers posted a video of him ringing the bell after his final treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma. The nurses and medical staff that treated him at the University of Pennsylvania (where he received treatment) surprised him by wearing shirts that messages of support for the man who always seemed to have a positive throughout his treatment.
Moving forward Oskar will be working to get back on the ice with the Flyers. After a short trip back to Sweden to spend time with family friends he arrived in Toronto and joined them in the bubble. He skated and worked out with the team for the first time a day after his 24th birthday. He has mentioned in a few places that he doesn’t have have a set date in mind to return. He will continue to work with the team in hopes of possibly returning to play during the later rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So stay tuned!
Photo Credit: All photos come from Team or Player accounts.