Remembering Oilers superfan Ben Stelter

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid took some time Thursday to speak about Ben Stelter.

The six-year-old Oilers superfan who battled brain cancer and captured the hearts of Canadians passed away Wednesday afternoon.

BACKGROUND: Edmonton Oilers superfan Ben Stelter passes away

“Honestly, Ben meant so much to myself, to my teammates and you know the relationship that kind of developed over the course of a year or so was something that I certainly won’t forget,” said Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers captain, in an interview with Sportsnet.

“He was an amazing little guy who lit up every single room he was in. He certainly lit up our room every time he walked in there.

Ben quickly became an icon around Edmonton, the Oilers organization, and hockey.

The lifelong Oilers fan first was first introduced at an Oilers-Sharks game on March 25, 2022, but McDavid says the connection with the Ben’s family started long before that.

READ MORE: Five-year-old battling brain cancer steals the show in Oilers-Sharks game

“It actually started a long time ago. I think his dad reached out on Twitter or something like that,” McDavid explained. “September last year, I got a chance to meet him for the first time, and honestly just fell in love with him right away and the entire family.”

“I just loved being around him.”

“I think he made a great point that us athletes have a great impact on kids. Ben had such an impact on our team and myself, even in the short time that we knew him over the course of the year. Just such an amazing kid. So strong, so brave. When you watch someone go through that — anybody, I don’t just mean a five or six-year-old kid, but especially when you’re five or six years old – to see him go through that was truly inspiring.”

Many memorable moments involving Ben quickly bloomed over the few months following his show-stealing introduction in March.

“For me, I think it was certainly sharing that moment with him,” said McDavid, when asked about his favourite moment with Ben. “Just being able to see it. See his face and be close to him. Not a lot of people get to experience what the ice feels like and what it sounds like, but it was pretty loud in there.

“Just to experience that with him was really special to me. It’s something that I’ll definitely always remember.”

Back in March, Ben was asked about forward Zach Hyman’s efforts in a game.

“I think he’s playing really good,” he answered, then going on to confirm that Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were his favourite players.

Hyman was asked how he could become Ben’s favourite.

“I think I need a little more time,” Hyman said. “I just got here, but I think Ben’s picked two great guys, two great players, just happy to be on stage with him.”

Oilers fans watching from a nearby window gave Ben a raucous ovation as he left the press conference stage.

“I think for me, I’m always going to think about him after a win. There’s that video that’s kind of everywhere with him playing ‘La Bamba, Baby’ and I think that’s what I’m going to think about,” McDavid said.


Over the course of his time spent with the Oilers, Ben became a bit of a good luck charm. The Oilers managed about 10 consecutive wins while Ben was in attendance at Rogers Place.

During the Oilers’ playoff run, CityNews spoke with some Oilers fans who said he was a part of their playoff superstitions.

“He’s like a part of the team. It’s just really nice to watch,” one said at the time.

“Ben is Edmonton’s lucky charm to be quite honest,” said another. “I think him being there for the winning games is no surprise and I think hopefully he’ll be there tomorrow and bring us more good luck.”

Upper Deck also issued a limited-edition Ben Stelter hockey card. The sports merchandise company referred to Ben as a heroic inspiration.

Ben truly had an impact on the hockey world and it was felt on Wednesday as many took to social media.

– With files from Courtney Theriault, Carly Robinson, CityNews staff and Sportsnet

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