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May 6, 2013

Lawrence 6th-grader gets to live hockey dream while dealing with life-threatening illness

Salem State University Vikings draft Bryen Davies to be their teammate for fall hockey season.


“By signing this letter, you will officially become a member of the team and one of the boys,” said the letter, signed by Coach William O’Neill, Salem State Athletic Director Tim Shea and Bryen.

“Your membership to this team will include exclusive access to our team and locker room at both practices and games along with other team building activities. Every member of the ice hockey team, coaches, athletic administration, and the student body of Salem State are extremely proud to add you to our team. Congratulations!”

The giant contract now sits in the living room of Bryen’s house.

When asked what he hoped will come out of his unique relationship with a team of college athletes, Bryen answered “I expect them to win all their games.”

Asked to describe how being a part of the team will affect him personally, Bryen called it “cool.”

“The experience is going to be a whole other world. It’s going to be something,” he said.

His mother said Bryen’s participation on the Salem State hockey team could be a very positive, life-changing experience.

“He’s overwhelmed that this is really happening,” Brenda said.

“He told me he felt ‘famous’ when he signed the contract. He just met them last month and he’s already texting the players. He became attached to them real quick. It’s kind of like they are all his big brothers,” she said.

On its website, Team IMPACT notes that the child benefits from the camaraderie, support and respect he or she gets from “being a valued member of a team.” It’s also provides “a charished diversion from their medical realities,” the website noted.

“The players gain invaluable perspective on the precious nature of life, and are humbled and inspired by the determination, strength and courage of a child fighting through such adversity,” it said.

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