Ethan McClean Is Coming to America to Meet the Gladiators
DULUTH, Ga. - The Atlanta Gladiators have announced that Ethan McClean is flying to America to see the Gladiators play on Hockey Fights Cancer Weekend November 16th, 17th and 18th.
Ethan McClean is a 10-year-old boy who lives in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, who has been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a painful and terminal disease. Ethan is a passionate Belfast Giants (EiHL) and hockey fan, as well as a Captain America enthusiast. For this reason, the Gladiators sent him one of their Captain America-themed Marvel Super Hero jerseys from last year during the season along with a message that he will be an honorary member of the team and is welcome to visit whenever he would like. Ethan took the team's offer to heart and the organization "Dreams Come True' based out of the United Kingdom has granted Ethan's wish to come to America and see his beloved Gladiators play three games on November 16th, 17th and 18th at Infinite Energy Arena. He will also get into town early in the week and have the opportunity to see Atlanta and the United States.
"When we first set out to help this little boy, we never would have imagined he would embrace it so much, and we would have established the bond we have now," said Director of Communications and Broadcasting Chris Treft. "We could not be more touched for him to have chosen us as his wish over anything else in the world. This is what sports are all about and to be a big part of his inspirational journey is beyond wonderful to be a part of."
The Gladiators will host Ethan with a wide variety of experiences to make his trip as memorable as can be. Ethan will attend practices, meet the players and coaching staff, drop the ceremonial first puck at a game, be on the bench for pre-game warmups, join the radio broadcast on air, and much more. The team has also organized a special surprise for Ethan that involves a trip Nashville, TN and a once-in-a-lifetime experience courtesy of the NHL's Nashville Predators.
"We are going to pull out all the stops to make sure this is the best experience of his life," said Treft. "What this boy has to go through every day is remarkable, and we are going to make sure this becomes the trip of a lifetime and one he will always remember."
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a muscle wasting disorder that wastes the muscles away. Ethan will now be required to utilize, full-time, a manual wheelchair due to the loss of power in his legs. By his early teens, Ethan will require the use of a powered wheelchair due to the loss of power in his arm muscles. Ethan's life expectancy is currently mid to late teens with no known cure for the disease.
The 16th season of Atlanta Gladiators hockey continues at the Infinite Energy Arena Friday, November 16thagainst the Norfolk Admirals at 7:35 PM. For ticket information, visit the official team website at www.atlantagladiators.com or call the main office line at 770-497-5100.
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation's premier "AA" hockey league. All home games are played at the 9,119-seat Infinite Energy Arena, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth - where parking is always free. The Gladiators have established an unrivaled commitment to excellence, maintaining a distinctive reputation for affordable and family-friendly sports entertainment and are consistently ranked as one of the top "Things To Do" in the Atlanta area and across the North Georgia region.
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