After an extensive online search, a 10-year-old Canadian boy named Axel will soon be getting something special from the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers had been searching for Axel Tripard, who lives in Ottawa, after the young fan sent a handwritten note to the team with a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hockey card, asking the team if they could get the centre to sign and return it.
But the letter didn’t have a return address.
So the team sent out a tweet, and within 24 hours, team representatives managed to connect with Axel and his father, Byron Tripard.
“I was a bit shocked… once I heard… that they were trying to look for me, I was really excited about it,” Axel said Wednesday.
“He spent a good part of his summer sending letters to all of his favourite hockey players,” Byron said.
“It was his idea to start writing letters… He did everything from find the address himself, filling out all then envelopes himself, he even went into the post office on his own buying stamps.”
Axel also received a response from Calvin de Haan with the Chicago Blackhawks. When de Haan was in Ottawa recently, he visited Axel and brought him a stick.
“That certainly made his day. This is another nice outreach from another fine player,” Byron said.
The pair said they were contacted by a member of the Oilers organization Wednesday, who said they would be in touch with more details after the Oilers game against the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night.
Byron said that he didn’t realize Axel’s letter had created such a stir online.
The tweet had set off a flurry of reaction on social media shortly after it was posted, with other Twitter users helping in the search for the 10-year-old.
“It was Axel’s hockey coach that sent me an email and said, ‘Did you see this online?’
“I saw the letter and was like, ‘That’s Axel’s writing,'” Byron said.
The letter itself said: “I am a big fan of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but I don’t have a lot of things of Ryan. All I have is his hockey card.”
“The reason why I’m sending this note is that I was wondering if I could get an autograph from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the card in the envelope?
“Please don’t throw out and if he doesn’t want to do it, please send back.”
“I wanted to send this letter because I’ve been watching the Oilers sometimes, and every time Nugent-Hopkins is on, I’m watching him a lot,” Axel told Global News on Wednesday night.
“He’s a really good hockey player, and I look up to him a lot whenever I play hockey.”
The pair said they will update Global News when they hear back from the Oilers.