Honourary Captain

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PeeWee AAA Pens #1 Fan Adam Dill assigned assistant captain role

Adam Dill sits with big brother Nathan before the presentation.

LANTZ: Assistant Captain Adam Dill has a big role in his new hockey family.

This year, the merger of PeeWee AAA saw West Hants and East Hants go from rivals to team mates, seeing pre-teen boys who once played against each other now work together on and off the ice. While the team bonds together, families do the same thing. With jam-packed schedules, parents and families often become close.

This year for the AAA Pens, a new number one fan has become a team favourite early on into the season.

Adam is the younger brother of player Nathan Dill. The youngster has Coffin-Lowry Syndrome and has a dream of someday playing hockey like his big brother.

Their mother, Tanya Dill says Adam loves to be a part of his big brother-and sister Raylynn’s- activities as well as do some of his own.

Right now, he skates two days a week with a can-skate program, plays baseball with the Bedford Challengers, and also participates in a swimming program at Acadia University.

He is in Grade 3 at Three Miles Plain Elementary school.

However, one of his favourite things is to be his brother’s number one fan. Tanya said Nathan is a wonderful big brother and knows he has a big fan in his little brother. Adam spends a great deal of his time cheering him on and adores being at the rink watching him play. He loves when he gets the opportunity to join him in the locker room, becoming a member of the team.

Little did Adam know, at the Nov. 3 home game of the PeeWee AAA Pens, he would get more than a chance to be in the locker room.

Can’t wipe that smile off of Adam Dill’s face.

Coach Andrew Gilby and parents had been working on quite the surprise for Adam.

“This season the East Hants and West Hants hockey organizations merged as part of the new Nova Scotia Provincial PeeWee AAA League. This new format brought together two communities giving us an opportunity to experience a diverse group of individual hockey players from two different organizations,” he said. “Without this merger many of us would never have had the opportunity or pleasure of meeting Adam. This opportunity is rare in itself and affords our hockey team and players the chance to truly respect others and grow as individuals.

“Adam has a special gift whereby he inadvertently promotes enthusiasm, courage, adaptation, acceptance and many other endearing qualities in people. Adam’s personality has helped our hockey team become a hockey family by welcoming everyone regardless of their background, skills, beliefs, or personalities.”

Because of Adam’s already apparent bond with his brother’s team, he has been named as an honourary Assistant Captain for the Pens, a designation also shared by his brother, Nathan.

The team presented him with his very own jersey marked with his own “A”.

Tanya Dill said the whole family was on cloud 9.

“He was all smiles and was beyond excited,” she said. “His father and I, his sister and his brother were all big smiles and almost in tears.

“It was so nice to see. It was nothing we ever thought of, they came to us and asked if they could do it.”

For Adam, just the invitation into the dressing room was enough excitement for the day, and for the team to make the presentation and welcome him with open arms meant the world to the entire Dill family.

“He is beyond excited just to get in the dressing room, and he got to go on with their warm up after, and got to do the fist pumping as they went out on the ice,” said Tanya.

Coffin Lowry Syndrome is an extremely rare genetic mutation, and Tanya said Adam’s case goes one step further, having a variant in the gene.

“We look at it as a good thing,” she said. ” He seems to be more advanced than many others with the syndrome.”

While he is developmentally delayed, taking on the characteristics more of a four-year-old than a nine-year-old, Tanya says he’s much more advanced than others, and displays less syndromes than other cases she has seen.

As he continues to hit milestones in his life, she said it is Adam’s goal to get on the ice like his siblings.

But for now, the Pens’ number one fan will now be cheering in style, and for that, Tanya is thankful for the new hockey family she is now a part of.

“I can’t get over how well the two teams have merged together,” she said. “Us as the parents, we’ve been able to come in and all get along together.”