Rockford, IL- The Rockford IceHogs have signed six-year-old Samuel Escutia to a one-day Rockford IceHogs contract for the team's Dec. 31 game against the Chicago Wolves.
Samuel signed his contract this morning in front of IceHogs players and coaches in the home locker room at the BMO Center.
For Saturday afternoon's 4 p.m. New Year's Eve game, Samuel will participate in several honorary guest activities, including reading the starting lineup to the team, joining the team on the bench for warm-ups, and executing the ceremonial puck drop. His mother will also be singing the National Anthem prior to the game.
As an added bonus today, Samuel was officially asked to adopt Elliott the Bear, the stuffed animal whose journey to find his forever home through the IceHogs Teddy Bear Toss game was documented on social media earlier this month. Samuel happily welcomed Elliott into his life and has vowed to take great care of him.
March 6, 2016: Samuel is born at 25 weeks, weighing just 1 lb., 5 oz.
July 5, 2016: Samuel has open heart surgery
October 13, 2016: Samuel undergoes surgery to place a tracheostomy
November 30, 2016: After 276 days in the intensive care unit, Samuel is finally moved out of ICU
March 6, 2017: Samuel spends his first birthday in Lurie Children’s Hospital
April 10, 2017: Samuel undergoes a surgery to correct his craniosynostosis
July 8, 2021: Samuel undergoes surgery for a cancerous tumor in his liver
2017-present day: Samuel has continued to be moved back and forth from the hospital for several different viruses and illnesses. Up until this year Samuel had never spent a Christmas at home.
The IceHogs look forward to making Samuel a part of their team this weekend.