SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Law enforcement from across the state, the Sioux Falls Stampede and Sioux Falls youth hockey players are coming together to send a seven-year-old Brookings boy on a trip of a lifetime. Ryker Hovey suffers from a rare disease resulting in an immune system disorder. Together with Make-A-Wish South Dakota, supporters are granting Ryker’s wish to meet Boston Bruins hockey player Tuukka Rask in Massachusetts.
From a law enforcement escort to his first ride in a limousine and a reception at the Sioux Falls Airport, Ryker Hovey is experiencing a hat trick of support.
“I was super excited. This is like the best day of my life,” Ryker said.
An avid skater on the ice, Ryker is on a mission to meet his hockey idol from the Boston Bruins thanks to Make-A-Wish South Dakota.
“My favorite player is Tuukka Rask and he is because of all of his nice saves and how good he is at playing,” Ryker said.
Dozens of Sioux Falls Flyers youth athletes are spending part of their holiday break at the airport to wish Ryker all their best.
“It’s kind of cool just to see a bunch of kids that like to play hockey get together for another kid who likes watching hockey, playing hockey. That’s always good,” Camp said.
“All the places he could have gone, he picks to go to a hockey game. That’s pretty cool,” Camp said.
Ryker’s “wish” is being paid for by funds raised at the recent law enforcement game feed in Sioux Falls.
Ryker’s mom Jillian Brochu says her boy’s life has been a challenge.
“About two months ago we had to rush him to the hospital because he couldn’t breathe because he had croup so bad which turned then into pneumonia which he battled for about a month,” Brochu said.
Brochu says Ryker is missing three parts of his immune system and can get seriously ill at the drop of a hat.
“It’s heartwarming as a mom just to be able to see your kid knowing how excited he is because this week is all about him. Not hospital visits, not doctor’s appointments, not him being sick, it’s just about fun and him having that time of his life and I can not thank Make-A-Wish enough just for that,” Brochu said.
Sue Salter with Make-A-Wish South Dakota says it took some effort to get things set up.
“Celebrity wishes are a bit more complicated. We’ve had to really rely on our friends at the chapter in Massachusetts and Rhode Island who has a great relationship with the Boston Bruins to make Ryker’s wish come true,” Salter said.
On the other hand, connecting the dots with supporters here in Sioux Falls was easy starting with today’s escort. It’s something Brochu won’t soon forget.
“Oh my gosh, here we go. So it’s been a very exciting morning,” Brochu said.
“Any time that we can give back to the community and do something to make their trip an enjoyable one, we’ll do what we can,” DeVaney said.
Needless to say, Ryker’s “wish” is coming true in grand fashion.
“After the first game, whenever I go to bed and then I wake up I get to meet Tuukka Rask,” Ryker said.
Checking off a major goal for this young boy who loves hockey.
Ryker will get to take in two Boston Bruins games during the trip. His family loves the Bruins because Ryker’s grandpa is from the Boston area.
Make-A-Wish serves children ages 2-and-a-half to 18 who are battling a critical illness.