A little ingenuity is making a dream come true for a Brandon boy living with cerebral palsy.
Described as “hockey fanatic” by his dad, Zander Wallin has always wanted to go skating with his twin brother, but mobility issues have kept him off the ice.
That’s all changed after the 12-year-old found a one-of-a-kind pair of homemade skates wrapped up under the Christmas tree this year.
The skates, specially built by his dad Chad with help from the Brandon Wheat Kings equipment manager, feature a double blade on the bottom that’s allowed Zander to experience ice-skating for the first time in his life.
“It just came to me one day to try and figure something out to give him the ability to at least try (skating),” Chad tells Global News Winnipeg Morning of the bob-skates, which have Zander’s name and a Brandon Wheat Kings logo embroidered on the boot.
“A lot of people are in his corner, that’s the cool thing about sports — through sheer determination and will, Zander has put himself in a position to get on the ice.”
But getting the chance to skate isn’t the only thing that’s got Zander excited this week.
The Wallins are a billet family for the Wheat Kings, and the player Zander calls his billet brother — defenceman Braden Schneider — is currently representing Team Canada at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships.
“We’ve been following every game and we’ve been cheering very loud,” said Zander, already decked out in a team jersey hours before Schneider’s Tuesday game.
Chad says while Zander had hoped to “take off flying” when he hit the ice for the first time, like many first-time skaters, it’s taken some practice.
“He had to work on it and adapt,” Chad said.
“But he just kept at it and kept sticking it out, and now he can get out there and he’s pretty good at it.
“It’s been a special week or two weeks for us.”