The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, have announced a tribute for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. Beginning on Friday night, the Nailers will wear a sticker on the backs of their helmets, with the initials “RS,” in honor of recently fallen friend, Randy Stephens.
Stephens, 18, passed away on Monday, after battling cancer for the third time in his life. As he was battling cancer, Randy took the opportunity to find things in life that he enjoyed, which led to lots of time on the golf course, as well as in the stands at WesBanco Arena, cheering on his favorite team, the Nailers. Last year, he was presented with the 2011-12 Wheeling Nailers Fan of the Year Award, as he was good friends with the entire team, while continuing to battle in one of the most inspiring stories in the 21-year history of hockey in the Ohio Valley.
“Randy’s passion for hockey and his strength was incredible,” said forward Zack Torquato. “He was not only our greatest fan – he was our friend. I am happy and honored to have known Randy, and we will all miss him,” he said.
Starting on Friday night, and carrying throughout the 2012-13 season, the Nailers will get to carry Randy’s legacy onto the ice with them. Each player will wear a gold sticker, with the initials “RS,” written in black on their helmets. The stickers are located on the back left side of the helmets.
“Randy was one of those people you remember long after they leave the room, said forward Ben Farrer. “He taught us all a lesson about what it meant to not take any day for granted. He showed what a true role model is – a caring, selfless, kind, and committed person, who was mature beyond his years. He will be missed by the entire Nailers team and organization, and we are all so lucky to have had him there as the best fan and friend anyone could ever ask for,” he said.
Sporting their new “RS” stickers, the Nailers will return to the ice on Friday at 7:00, when they will play host to the Trenton Titans at WesBanco Arena.