Five-year-old Avery Pynn loves a few things: hockey, the Cape Breton Eagles, and specifically, #91 Jacob Newcombe.
Avery has met his hero a few times at community events and tries his best to emulate the player on the ice.
He’s such a big fan, not only does his family have season tickets for the QMJHL team, Avery recently celebrated his birthday with a Eagles-themed party, complete with a cake featuring a photo of himself with Newcombe.
So when he heard the 19-year-old Eagles forward had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he immediately suggested doing something special for his favourite player.
“Because I wanted to make him feel better,” said Avery.
His mother, Terri Lynn, said it was Avery who came up with the idea to hold a lemonade stand. His father, Ryan, shared the event on social media and Avery went to work making a poster and whipping up the drinks.
Then, the customers came: a bus driver, some police officers, and many friends from school and the neighbourhood. They came and gave generously.
“It blew our minds,” said Terri Lynn.
“I thought maybe he would get enough for a tank of gas or maybe some meals when they don’t feel like cooking but (it turned out to be) $670.”
Avery proudly delivered the gift to the Eagles’ office this week, and was declared “an amazing person” by the team.
“They were floored,” said Ryan. “They just couldn’t believe it.”
The Pynns said the Eagles have been an important part of their family and the community, and they wanted to ensure Newcombe knew how loved he is.
“I know they’re just teenagers themselves, most of them, but they just have such a genuine community-mindedness,” said Terri Lynn, who added that Newcombe is a “stand up guy, 100 per cent.”
“He actually did call Avery to thank him, which was really, really sweet.”
Newcombe, who is originally from Sambro, N.S. and played U18 hockey with the Halifax Macs, was acquired by the Eagles from the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in December 2022.
Since then, he has been a “fundamental part of the Cape Breton Eagles, contributing not only as a talented player but also as a positive attitude on and off the ice,” read a statement from the team earlier this month.
The team went on to say that the entire organization, along with its fans and the hockey community, were united in “offering our unwavering support to Jacob.”
Newcombe, who released a statement last week, is thankful for the outpouring of love since his diagnosis.
“My main concern right now is my health,” he said.
“I am looking forward to getting back in the rink with my teammates and playing in front of Eagles fans in the future.”
— with a file from Global News’ Alex Cooke