SASKATOON – Most hockey fans enjoy the game in relative silence, concentrating on the puck as it glides across the ice. But 12-year-old Wyatt Nelson-Zook watches the game a little differently.
If you listen closely, you’ll hear Wyatt quietly describing what he sees on the other side of the glass. And if you take a closer look at the man sitting next to Wyatt, you’ll understand why.
Wyatt’s father, Gerry Nelson, lost his sight to diabetes 27 years ago. Typically Gerry tunes into the radio broadcast while attending Saskatoon Blades games. But earlier this year during an out of town pre-season matchup, Gerry encountered a problem.
“We came to the game, and it wasn’t on the radio,” said Wyatt. “So I just started explaining it to him and I guess it worked.”
Wyatt doesn’t want to become a play-by-play announcer, he just wants to help his visually impaired father enjoy the game.
“Wyatt from a very early age began to help me when I needed it, without even being asked,” said Gerry.
“He’s the greatest son a father could ever have.”
Over the years, hockey has drawn Gerry and his son closer together. Even though Gerry can’t see the ice, he can still experience the game he loves, with Wyatt by his side.
“Sometimes when he is doing something with me I feel like I am taking him away from his time with his friends,” said Gerry, “But he says ‘No, Dad, I love doing it and I want to do it.’”
Hockey isn’t the only sport the two share together.
In the summer Wyatt caddies for his father who an elite golfer. Gerry is the president of Blind Golf Canada and in July he won the 2015 Canadian Open in the “B1” sight class.
Gerry has taught Wyatt that nothing comes easy, but anything is possible.
“Never give up. He could have sat around and done nothing,” said Wyatt of his father Gerry. “To get out and have a job, have a home, golf and be exceptionally good at it, that’s incredible.”
© 2015 Shaw Media