Young patients sing anthem, announce lineup before Blues game

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The St. Louis Blues lineup is getting younger and younger.

The team had a 7- and 10-year-old cancer fighter and survivor help with pregame tasks, like singing the national anthem and announcing the starting lineups before the game against the Vegas Golden Knights at Enterprise Center on Monday.

At the mic for the national anthem was 10-year-old John Schmidt, a St. Louis Children’s Hospital patient who loves to sing.

Tweet from @StLouisBlues: 10-year-old John Schmidt, who loves to sing, led the crowd in performing tonight’s national anthem. #HockeyFightsCancer #stlblues pic.twitter.com/uUpHxNrXZS

After the first verse, the crowd picked up volume and helped Schmidt finish out the song.

Fans were encouraged to turn on their cell phone flashlights during the national anthem in honor of Ari Dougan, a Blues fan who passed away at age 11 after a battle with cancer. Dougan became friends with many players and coaches of the team after she took a road trip with the Blues in March of 2017 as a guest of Vladimir Tarasenko.

In the booth announcing the lineup was 7-year-old Dominic Elliott.

Tweet from @StLouisBlues: Dominic might not be able to play hockey right now because of his chemotherapy treatments, but he can announce the starting lineups with the best of ’em.Way to go, Dominic! #HockeyFightsCancer #stlblues pic.twitter.com/qHz4GEl6Mk

Elliott hasn’t been able to play much hockey since his leukemia diagnosis in March of 2020, but he gets involved with the game wherever he can.

Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly surprised Elliott with a Zoom call the week of Nov. 14. O’Reilly invited Elliott and his family to last Thursday’s 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks, and a week later, Elliott was back announcing the starting lineups.

As soon as Elliott received the lineup, he was practicing, his mom Ashley told the Blues’ website.

Elliott is in remission but still makes monthly visits to the hospital.

“He has a port in his chest right now, so he has not been able to play hockey,” said his dad Phil. “But once he’s done, he’s very excited to get back on the ice.”

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