Miracle on the Ice

Less than a year after being diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of cancer known to man, Oskar Lindblom is back on the ice for the Philadelphia Flyers. The Swedish left wing, 24, has been playing professional ice hockey since 2014. The same year, he was selected in the fifth round Entry Draft by the Flyers but did not start officially playing for them until the 2017-2018 season. Lindblom proved to have great talent and skill. Then, just two months into his third season with Philly, he received devastating news.

On December 13th, 2019, Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Ewing’s only affects one in a million people and is most often found in children and young adults. The young athlete found himself quickly trading in his grueling fitness regimen for a tougher challenge: chemotherapy. Lindblom was treated at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital over the course of six months, where he was administered his chemo in two cycles, A and B.

These cycles took a heavy toll on Oskar physically, but he never let it affect him mentally. His evenings were spent on long walks with his girlfriend, Alma, and their dog, Taggie. He spent time with his teammates before they were sent to the NHL Toronto Bubble in July. Lindblom also took the opportunity to visit his family in Sweden and spend some time with them during this process. Then, on July 2nd, 2020, just about a week shy of six months after his diagnosis, Oskar Lindblom rang the bell at UPenn Hospital, symbolizing the end of his chemotherapy and his remission.

Even after he was confirmed to have gone into remission, the Flyers were not ready to take any chances yet to have Lindblom back on the ice. He had skated a couple of times during practice sessions at the Flyers practice rink in Voorhees, NJ but not in a larger setting or a longer duration of time. The team had stated that due to the global pandemic and Lindblom’s immune system being compromised, they were not sure whether he would accompany the Flyers to the Toronto bubble to support his teammates.

The decision was made a few days before the team members made their journey to Toronto, Canada to play in the postseason Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Playoffs: Lindblom would join the team but would not be playing. It seemed that his 2019-2020 season which has started as a breakout season with 11 goals over a span of 30 games, was officially finished.

Then, a miracle.

On September 3rd, 2020, just two months after he rang the bell in the UPenn hospital surrounded by the nurses who took care of him, Oskar Lindblom suited up in his uniform. A true superhero, he stepped out onto the ice for the Philadelphia Flyers in their game six against the New York Islanders. Lindblom played 17:30 and helped force the game seven Philly needed desperately.

"I tried to think positive during the whole chemo," Lindblom said. "I knew I was going to play one day, but I didn't know when. Today was the day, and I was lucky to be there with these guys."

Oskar Lindblom described his treatment as “hell” and said that keeping a positive attitude helped him achieve his goal of getting back on the ice with his teammates as soon as possible.