Nick Blase is a second year Defenseman playing with the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL South Division. Nick is not your typical 19 year old kid. He sees life through the eyes of someone who has witnessed a person touch the lives of countless people through a daily struggle to survive. You see, Nick lost his younger sister Clare to Adrenocordical carcinoma on Dec 14, 2012 just four days shy of her 15th birthday. Adrenocordical carcinoma is an extremely rare form of cancer that effects only 1 – 2 people per million.
Following a season with the hometown St Louis Blues AAA Midget Majors team where he put up 1G – 6A in 35 games, Nick was selected in the third round of the 2012 NAHL Entry Draft by the Texas Tornado. The Tornado were coming off a season where they had won the Robertson Cup National Championship and their tryout camps were flooded with prospect looking to play for the Tornado and Head Coach Tony Curtale who had won five Robertson Cups in just 12 seasons. Nick earned a spot on the Tornado roster, but played in only 40 games with the Tornado in 2012/13 missing a full third of the season to be with his critically ill sister and family.
Despite his multiple absences from the team and game, Nick and his sister Clare made an impact on the Tornado organization. When he was on the ice he contributed 2G – 7A during the regular season and chipped in two points on 1G – 1A in six playoff games as the Tornado advanced to the South Division Championship. However, it was off the ice where Nick may have had the most impact. When Nick told his teammates of Clare’s illness they rallied around him and Clare.
The Tornado players were not the only ones to be touched by Clare’s courage and determination to fight her disease. Numerous members of the hockey family reached out to Clare, Nick and the Blasé family. Several teams have worn “C.B. In Loving Memory” stickers on the backs of their helmets. The dance studio where Clare trained put on special performances to raise funds and awareness. Teams of riders participated in the St Louis Pedal For a Cure bicycle ride representing Team Clare. Countless donations have been made to various cancer research organizations as a direct result of Clare’s battle. One only has to read through some of the nearly 5,000 posts on Clare’s Caring Bridge site to see the impact she had on others.
I do not know Nick well. I have covered his on ice play for this site and others over the past couple of seasons, but I know people who do know him well and all respect him. Looking at Nick’s Twitter posts reveals the kind of young man he has become and the love he had for his sister.
Miss you so much right now. Keep watching over us. #iloveyouclare
Nick was interviewed recently by Brahmas broadcaster Cliff Foster as part of the Player Spotlight on the Brahmas Coach’s Corner show. Nick’s older brother Brendan put together a touching tribute to Nick and Clare using a portion of that interview. The video can be viewed here.
I have no doubt that Nick, Clare and the entire Blase family will continue to touch the lives of countless people as Clare’s story of courage spreads.