BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Jack Eichel finally settled on a number for his Sabres jersey, but the debate over which one he would choose captivated Buffalo hockey fans for weeks. Eichel will likely make a lot of memories wearing 15, but he will also probably remember a number suggestion from a little boy for a long time to come.
Matthew Eggers is a five-year-old from Grand Island who is fighting Burkitt lymphoma. He spent the majority of last week receiving chemotherapy treatments at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. While he was there, he made a new friend.
“I met Jack Eichel,” the soon-to-be first grader proudly told News 4. The future Sabres star stopped in during his introductory tour of Buffalo. “I told him to sign my hat,” Matthew remembered.
Matthew told Eichel something else, too. At the time, the hockey player was having a tough time deciding on that number. So he asked Matthew for some advice.
“One hundred,” Matthew responded.
When asked why he made that suggestion, the boy’s answer was simple. “Because I like that number.”
As Eichel told to Matthew afterwards, that would make him the first NHL player ever to wear the number 100. The team captured the moment on Twitter, and the post gained hundreds of retweets, favorites, and responses.
“I got all choked up when he said one hundred, because it’s kind of his way of counting,” Matthew’s father, Eric, explained.
Eric missed it in person, but was touched when he saw the team tweet about his son. “It was nice that they came here,” he said, and it was nice that he was here able to be here to actually meet him.”
Now Eric can’t wait to take Matthew to see his new favorite player on the ice, even though he’ll be wearing 15, not 100. “If everything runs its course and he stays here, Sabre for life. So he’ll always be able to bond with that, I guess.”