What started out as a hat signing turned into the thrill of a lifetime for a local boy with Spina Bifida. 

Ryder Rowe is bound to a wheelchair due to his ailment and his aunt, Melissa, works at Quality Inn and Suites where Team Czechia’s para ice hockey team was staying during the World Para Ice Hockey Championships last week. 

Melissa had asked the team if they would be willing to sign a hat for Ryder. 

“They all signed it and then they asked me when a good time would be to bring him by,” Melissa said. 

She said that Ryder was smiling from ear to ear when he got to meet the team on Thursday as he doesn’t often get to meet people with similar disabilities. Ryder even brought gifts for the team.

But there was one problem. Ryder wanted to go to Team Czechia’s quarter-final game on Friday at the Moose Jaw Events Centre but he had to go to school. 

Czechian head coach Jacub Novotny jumped into action. 

“It's kind of funny because he had to miss a bit of school if he's going to make their game at three o'clock. So, their head coach wrote him a note to give to his teacher, excusing him from class,” Melissa said. 

Note from Czechia para hockey head coachCzechia para ice hockey head coach Jakub Novotny wrote a note to Ryder's teacher asking to excuse him from class so he could make their game on Friday afternoon. (Photo courtesy: Český para hokej/Facebook)

According to Melissa, the team was really great with him, taking videos and pictures of Ryder with the team. 

Ryder took home a signed hat, a pin and a lifetime of memories.