Hockey players, families, and fans have always been proud of the sense of community and teamwork that comes out of the sport. No hockey player can truly become a success without the commitment of those around them. So hockey players tend to be very dedicated about giving back to their communities.
One of the most moving stories you'll ever see about this sense of community is the story of Zach Bennett - a boy nicknamed "Bug". Zach is 11 years old and suffers from a disease called neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow on nerve tissues. Despite losing both legs in his battle against the disease, and having more than 20 surgeries to combat it, you will not find a person with a more positive spirit in the face of adversity.
The Bennetts used to live in Albany, New York, where they were fans of the Albany River Rats, and had developed a good relationship with the team. When the team was sold and relocated to North Carolina as the new AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, the family decided to follow the team to Charlotte. The Charlotte Checkers did a fundraiser to help the family complete their move, and recently, the team helped welcome the Bennetts to their new home.
It is a truly inspiring story - not just about the spirit of generosity and community so prevalent in the hockey world, but about a boy whose spirit is as big as the state where he now resides.
Below is a video from ESPN about the Bennetts, Zach's story, and their relationship with the team.