Upon entering the icy arena, the Red Wings immediately greeted Lucas with a warm welcome.
Ever since Lucas, 18, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis five years ago, life for him and his family has meant many treatments and doctors' appointments. That has not stopped him from pursuing his favorite hobbies – spending time with his friends, playing video games, and, of course, hockey. For Lucas, hockey has been a light through the challenges that his diagnosis has added to his life.
Lucas' wish to meet his idol Henrik Zetterberg and go to a Detroit Red Wings game provided a positive focus in the midst of his medical challenges.
"It was truly an amazing day as a parent," said Lucas' mom, Lisa. "Watching my son smile from ear-to-ear...I can't thank Make-A-Wish enough."
The first thing Lucas and his family saw when they arrived at Little Caesars Arena was Welcome Lucas & Family featured bright and crisp on the jumbotron. From there they went to the locker room where the team was waiting to meet Lucas.
Lucas shook hands with Coach Jeff Blashill who then introduced him to the team. First up was his favorite player and hero, Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg also had a very special gift for Lucas: a custom Red Wings jersey signed by each player. He was welcomed like part of the team.
"Meeting all of the players and being in the locker room was amazing," Lucas said. "[They] really made me feel like I was welcomed."
While hanging out with the team, Lucas showed his strength against player Luke Witkowski for the Make-A-Wish #armwrestlechallenge, with Zetterberg officiating. Witkowski was no match for Lucas, who won hands down.
"The arm wrestle challenge really made my day," he said.
Lucas fist-bumped every player as they got on the ice for the morning skate. While the players prepared for the game, Lucas and his family watched from the sidelines, with Zetterberg and coach Blashill skating by to chat.
"Coach was so amazing talking to me all the time and asking me questions," Lucas said. "It was so nice to know that a sports team that I love so much cares about its fans. They really know how to make you feel super special."