Rochester Ice Hawk Forms Special Bond with Biggest Fan

Updated: 12/25/2013 11:05 PM
Created: 12/25/2013 6:51 PM KAALtv.com
By: Caleb Ostrander

(ABC 6 News) -- Jamie Blair is in the middle of his second season with the Rochester Ice Hawks.

"I was pretty sure this was where I wanted to be again," Blair said.

And while he's grown as a player on the ice, he may have grown a little bit more off the ice.

"It's kind of like having your number one fan live with you. So it's really nice," Blair said.

Jamie is from Nova Scotia, Canada, so his Rochester family consists of his housing mom Deb Strelow, and her adopted son Charlie.

"We loved it so much last year that we had a player back this year, and it just so happened that Jamie came back," Deb said.

"He's definitely my little brother, which my real little brother probably doesn't like to hear, but I tell him all the time I like Charlie more," Jamie said.

Charlie isn't your everyday six-year-old boy.

He suffers from auricular-condylar syndrome, which affects facial development, particularly of the ears and lower jaw.

He needs a tracheal ring to make breathing easier, and uses a feeding tube.

"It definitely wasn't easy at the beginning. He has his own language - it's a little bit of sign language, and a lot of noise. We're pretty good together now," Jamie said.

"They're like two peas in a pod, and it's funny how they can almost act like they're biological brothers, with the sibling rivalry," Deb said. "He goes to hockey with Charlie on Saturday mornings. I think Jamie is enjoying being able to teach someone else and give back."

"When I was five or six, my dad was the first one to push me on the ice, so it was pretty special to be that guy for someone else," Jamie said. "It's a really cool feeling, and not one you think you're going to get moving away to play junior hockey. It's a big bonus."

"Being a single parent, there's not a lot of male role models for him, so it's been good to have someone else around," Deb said.

The question is, for how much longer?

Jamie has another year of junior eligibility left, but he's not sure he'll return to Rochester.

Regardless, he's not worried about losing his bond with Charlie.

"This year, after I came back after going home for a couple months, he was at the rink watching the rookie camp. And I picked him up, and as soon as he saw me, he started crying," Jamie said. "So I know no matter how long I'm away, when I come back, he's going to be my little brother right away."