The roar of the crowd was artificial, but the emotion was real when Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom returned to the ice in September after nearly a year spent battling a rare cancer.

Lindblom, 24, learned in November 2019 that he had Ewing's sarcoma and was ruled out for the season. But the pause across sports caused by coronavirus pandemic allowed him to return for the final portion of the season. He had completed his treatment during the suspension of play.

While noise was piped into the fanless arena in Toronto during the National Hockey League postseason, the officials on the ice applauded and the players - including the opposing Islanders - tapped their sticks in appreciation of Lindblom's journey back for Game 6 of the second round.

''He's a true warrior. I know our team supported him every step along the way.,'' Philadelphia center Kevin Hayes said.


Hayley Wickenheiser a four-time Olympic gold medalist in hockey for Canada, was an emergency room physician in training last March.

She could see the distress on doctors' and nurses ' faces during her rotation through hospitals.

As a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes Commission. Wickenheiser had to make a choice : Sit in silence as plans for the Summer Olympics continued or speak up about the pandemic's ravages to protect the athletes.

The country's most decorated hockey player opted to discourage Team Canada from going through with Olympic participation as planned.

''This crisis is bigger even than even the Olympics,'' Wickenheiser wrote on Twitter on March 17. ''I think the I.O.C. insisting this will move ahead, with each conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.''

Wickenheiser had several conversations with the Canadian Olympic Committee, which announced five days after her post that it would not send the country's athletes to Tokyo in 2020 and pressed the I.O.C. toward its eventual decision : postponing the Games to the following summer. [Curtis Rush].


My nine-year-old daughter can tell you her best sports moments of 2020, and it happens to be mine, too. One Saturday morning, in mid-October, she played team soccer for the first time in seven months.

The pandemic had kept her from playing with her travel team since its winter season end in March. Although she had tried to hide it, we could tell that she was sick of backyard drills and jiggling the ball in our living room.

She was sick of meeting with her coaches on Zoom and sending them videos of the moves she was practising.

When in-peron school was cancelled this fall, some risk on the soccer field became a risk that was worthwhile, particularly for our sports gregarious little girl with no siblings.

We crossed our fingers and signed her up for a tryout with a team that was getting together for drills, but not to play matches.

It took only a few minutes for me to know that our decision had been the right one. I saw her eyes squint and knew she was smiling. And then I heard her laugh. It was the sound of happiness. [Juliet Macur]


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