Standing ovation shows indelible bond between Lindblom and Philly


Back in April 2021, Kevin Hayes said he'd "never forget" wearing Oskar Lindblom's No. 23 Hockey Fights Cancer jersey along with the rest of his teammates.

"Just being able to wear his jersey in warmups, with him on the ice, knowing how far he has come — I'm sure it was an incredible moment for him because it was an incredible moment for us," Hayes said then.

On Sunday night, a year and a half later, the Flyers were playing against Lindblom at the Wells Fargo Center. The 26-year-old was wearing a No. 23 Sharks jersey. But during a first-period stoppage, a moment reminded everyone that Lindblom will always be a Flyer in this city.

The Swedish winger became adored and admired in Philadelphia amid his courageous fight with cancer. The city wrapped its arms around Lindblom's vibrant smile and trademark positivity. Philly loves a fighter and Lindblom is one.

As Lindblom returned to the Wells Fargo Center in a visiting jersey, the Flyers and their fans saluted him. The club played a video tribute on the Jumbotron, which elicited a standing ovation for Lindblom. He tapped his heart and raised his stick in saluting them back.

"I feel like all of the sports together, it’s just a big family here," Lindblom said a couple of hours before the Sharks went on to beat the Flyers, 3-0. "You can have downs and ups, but they’re always going to be there for you. Whatever it is, they’re going to cheer for you. It was a great time for me here and the fans were awesome to me.

"We loved it. Now it's going to be fun to play a game here again."

In December 2019, Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

Chuck Fletcher fought back tears as he talked about Lindblom in the days following the diagnosis.

“It’s been tough, it’s been a tough week — 23-year-old kid," the Flyers' general manager said.

"The Oskar situation is pretty scary and sobering. I put that on a different level than wins and losses in hockey."

Last July, Fletcher made a difficult decision to buy out the final year of Lindblom's three-year contract. It was a deal Fletcher signed Lindblom to in July 2020, when the winger completed his cancer treatments and his comeback was on.

Lindblom has remained close with the medical team for Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital.

"Yeah, I talked to my two doctors a couple of days ago actually just to see how they were doing," he said. "It's good, still have them here, taking care of me.

"They were great to me, so I don't really want to change them."

With San Jose, he's continuing to work back to the player he was before his cancer diagnosis.

"Feeling way better this year, my testing was way better," Lindblom said. "Take one step at a time here. I feel good, so now it's just the mental part and trying to get confidence back and do the things I did."

Like they were throughout his battle and on Sunday night, people in Philadelphia will always be behind him.

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