Former NHL forward Vernon Fiddler knows how to make a lasting impression.
This hard- nosed checking forward who had a strong 14-year career with the Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators, is perhaps most remembered for his generous gesture when on February 25, 2016 he tossed 9-year-old Dallas Stars fan Chloe Brown a puck from the game.
During warmups at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, this Stars forward of Metis descent, tossed a puck over the glass to an excited Brown, who was decked out in her Fiddler Stars shirt along with a Stars hat and sign. What made this such an emotional feel-good moment, is that Brown is a two-time cancer survivor.
The relationship between Brown and Fiddler actually happed three years prior, when she attended her first Stars game through a special program Fiddler and his wife began called “Fidd’s Kids,” which partnered with the Make-A-Wish foundation. They donated 12 tickets for each home game at American Airlines Arena. This special intimate moment of Fiddler flipping a puck over the glass to an excited Brown, was caught by television cameras. The video clip which showed Brown smiling and jumping up and down with the puck, was posted afterwards on the NHL’s Twitter page.
“This is my little girl and she adores Mr. Fiddler,” Chloe’s mom, Rhonda Brown said. “He brought her to her first hockey game three years ago as a (member of) Fidd’s Kidds. She is a two-time Leukemia survivor and a Dallas Stars fan. If you saw her room you would understand how much he makes her life better each day! Thank you for sharing this so I could see her face.”
During her young life Brown has shown tremendous courage starting at 15 months when she was first diagnosed. Afterwards, she completed her first round of chemotherapy and went into remission by age 2. A year later the family received some devastating news as the cancer reappeared. Once again, showing that determination, Chloe Brown bravely underwent an alternative form of chemotherapy which finished on September 8, 2016.
“She’s a girl that has inspired a lot of people in Dallas,” Fiddler said. “She’s battled a lot in her young life, more that she ever should.”
Fiddler, upon retiring in 2017, was one of 70 indigenous players to play in the NHL. He broke into the NHL in 2002-2003 when he suited up for 19 games with the Predators. Starting in 2009-2010 this checking forward played two seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes before establishing himself with the Stars. Starting in 2011-2012 Fiddler played five seasons in the Lone Star State where in his final season, he became a hero by creating a special memory that Chloe Brown will never forget. Following that 2015-16 season, Brown suffered disappointment as Fiddler the following year was playing for the New Jersey Devils.
“The day he went to the Devils, (July 1) we had a meltdown in the house, we were done for the day,” Rhonda Brown said. “But he Face Timed with her and said he would get her a new jersey. She was going to save up for a jersey, but then she started saving to go to the game.”
Early in the 2016-2017 campaign, when the Devils visited American Airlines Arena, talking to Chloe Brown and personally delivering the Devils jersey with Fiddler’s name and number was something the forward was looking forward to doing.
“She’s a special fan of mine,” Fiddler said. “That’s the plan, to bring her the jersey and get her cheering for the Devils. She’s a great little kid and it’s always nice to see her smiley face.”
Showing her true dedication towards Fiddler, before going to school, she diligently grabs her iPad and on the NHL App checks scores for the Devils and Stars games. When Fiddler decided in 2017, to hang up the skates, this Edmonton Alberta product ended up playing 877 total games where he scored 104 goals and 261 points. More importantly, he created that lifelong memory when back on February 25, 2015 he made a lifetime fan by just the simple gesture of flipping her a puck.