NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Michigan teen battling cancer realized a dream Friday when he practiced in goal with the NHL's Nashville Predators, fending off shots while meeting his favorite player, The Tennessean reported.
Jacob Piros is visiting Nashville to participate in the Make-A-WIsh Foundation’s program. The 17-year-old played in goal during the Predators’ practice Friday and then had lunch with his favorite player, goalie Pekka Rinne, the newspaper reported.
Piros' cancer is in remission, and he was given special treatment while he visited the Music City. The high school goalie was introduced before the Predators' game Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets, led the team onto the ice and stood with Rinne during the playing of the national anthem, The Tennessean reported.
Friday morning, Piros worked in net as Predators players Roman Josi, Anthony Bitetto, Ryan Ellis, Yannick Weber, Dan Hamhuis, Ryan Hartman, Matt Irwin and RInne took shots at the teen. Piros stopped most the shots fired his way, the newspaper reported.
"I can't score on you," Rinne said after Piros made a save.
Rinne told The Tennessean that Piros' handling of his cancer through the years was "awesome."
"It’s a humbling feeling. It’s pretty surreal," Rinne said. "Last night I was upset about the game, but all of a sudden you realize how selfish it is. It’s just a hockey game. There’s a lot of other things going on in life.
"Great guy. He’s funny. Good sense of humor,” Rinne said. “It’s a great experience for me, too."
Piros was given five hockey sticks by Rinne, and he will attend Nashville's game Saturday against the Florida Panthers with his parents, The Tennessean reported.
"It was fantastic," Piros’ mother, Ronda Klein, told the newspaper. "He was in his glory. He was like, 'Wow, dream come true.'"