It was a magical way to wrap up 2022 for a young boy from Illinois who brought his positive energy and contagious smile to the Rockford IceHogs professional hockey team last week.

Back on December 30, the IceHogs signed six-year-old Samuel Escutia to a one-day contract with the team, and that big day came on New Years' Eve when the rival Chicago Wolves were in town.

If you follow the IceHogs, then you already know how tough the battles with the Wolves can be, so it was crucial for Rockford to get young Samuel on their side because of how tough this little fighter has been in his life.

Samuel Escutia was born prematurely on March 6, 2016 and weighed 1 lb, 5 ounces. In his short life, he has battled through open heart surgery, a tracheostomy, surgery on a cancerous tumor, and numerous other surgeries and illnesses.

This was the first Christmas Samuel spent out of the hospital at home and he joined the team on December 31 at the BMO Harris Bank Center for honorary activities on the ice including the puck drop, sitting on the bench during warm-ups, and joining his mom for the pre-game national anthem, according to the Rockford Ice Hogs press release.

With all the fight and energy that Samuel brought to the team, they easily took down the Chicago Wolves 6-2 which the IceHogs called a "win for Samuel."

And check out this post-game interview on the ice with the star of the night.

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