The newest and youngest member of the University of Nebraska at Omaha hockey team is Westside Middle School student Isaac Barchus, who was signed Thursday.
The signing event was organized by Team IMPACT, a group that aims to improve the quality of life for children facing serious and chronic illnesses.
Isaac has a very rare autoinflamatory disease called CANDLE Syndrome, or Chronic Atypical Neutrophilic Dermatosis with Lipodystrophy and Elevated Temperature.
His passion is hockey, particularly Mavericks hockey.
Sporting a bow tie — just like his favorite Doctor Who actor Matthew Smith — Isaac signed the paperwork to be on the team. He then answered questions, flanked by Coach Mike Gabinet and new teammate Ryan Galt.
“It feels awesome,” Isaac said. “I have liked hockey ever since I came to my first hockey game.” Of course, it was a Mavericks game.
“We can learn from you just as much as you can learn from us,” Gabinet told the 13-year-old.
Isaac’s parents, Steve and Kathe Barchus, agree.
They said their son maintains a positive attitude through constant pain and multiple treatments on the East Coast. Isaac is one of 10 people in a study at the National Institutes of Health.
“He will come with a smile on, no matter what his day was (like),” Kathe Barchus said.
Though Isaac won’t be on the ice, he’s invited to attend practices and games with the team this season. And, he said, he’ll start with Friday night’s exhibition game.
“You will see pure joy and excitement from this boy,” Steve Barchus said.