Oskar Lindblom, a 23-year-old Swedish native with a bright smile, wears No. 23 for the Flyers.
At 1:23 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23, the Flyers tweeted out a picture of Lindblom smiling.
Just about six and a half months after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones, Lindblom took the ice at Flyers Skate Zone in his practice gear — and also wearing that uplifting smile.
Lindblom is still undergoing treatments at the University of Pennsylvania and is not expected to play if the season resumes. However, Lindblom being on the ice is such a positive sign for the forward who had his life turned upside down in December. Lindblom, who is the Flyers' nominee for the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, said his treatments are "going great."
"I don't have a lot left, I'm going to be done soon," he said to Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "I can see the light in the tunnel right now and I'm trying to enjoy my life as it is. I can't complain, I can't complain. People have it worse. I'm just happy to be where I am right now."
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher released the following statement:
It was great to see him out there. He looked really good on the ice, his hands are still there. It is remarkable to think that with all the treatments that he has had he was able to go out there today and still show the skill and still have the stamina to skate for about 35-40 minutes. It’s a great sign for him and very exciting to think that with all going well in the future he’s going to return to play for us. Obviously, Phase 2 is voluntary and every player and staff member must follow very strict guidelines and rules. Our practice facility is a very safe environment, safer than most places.
Expectedly, Lindblom has not skated much since his diagnosis. He was last seen with the Flyers briefly on the team's picture day at the Wells Fargo Center March 9, three days before the NHL season was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.
I've been on a few times, not many, like three or four times. But it's been so long between the different times, so it's fun to be out there but it's still tough to not be as good as you're used to when you're normal," Lindblom said. "But it's fun to be out there, it's fun to meet all the boys again and skate around, get the feel of it.
"It was great. That's the only thing I'm waiting for right now is to be done with my chemo and get back with the team and play some hockey. That would be unreal to get back to real life again and have fun.
Lindblom skated with a small group of only a few others on the ice. The Flyers are currently in Phase 2 of the NHL's return-to-play plan. It is highly likely the Flyers and Lindblom were given the OK from doctors for him to skate under extreme precautions.
"It was amazing to see him out there," one team representative said. "I started smiling watching that video. He is an impressive human being. He has handled his situation in a fantastic way and it just shows his character and type of person he is."
"He has some treatments left but it's great for his psyche to be out on the ice I'm sure," one team official said.
Lindblom likes the Flyers' outlook in the 24-team tournament. He's a big reason why the Flyers are in their current position.
"I think there are great chances for the Flyers this year," he said. "At the end of the season, they had a real good push and I feel like our team is so good together. I can't wait to see them again and can't wait to be with them, start practicing with them. I think we have a great chance to push for a good playoff run."
Below are pictures of Lindblom from Tuesday taken by the Flyers' Hill:
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