Nathan Gerbe’s smallest fan; Ryder Kopacz.

Ryder Kopacz is a three-foot-four, 4 year old hockey player with unmatched drive, and passion for the game.  Little Ryder’s favorite team is the Buffalo Sabres, and his favorite player just happens to be the Sabres the five-foot-five, 25 year old left winger, Nathan Gerbe.

Sabres Nathan Gerbe (5'5

Sabres Nathan Gerbe (5’5″) battling for position against Zdeno Chara (6’9″). (Image courtesy of slidingsideways on flickr).

Ryder was born with that is called “fibular hemimelia” in his right leg… which basically means that the outside bone of the lower leg stops growing.  Just before his first birthday he had an operation where part of his lower leg was amputated so he could wear a prosthetic leg.  He motors around great on it, walking and running… but when it comes to trying to skate, there were some issues.  His mother made a video and put it on YouTube, which became popular, and an anonymous donor came forward to create a custom skating leg just for Ryder.  That is where his incredible journey begins.

Please watch the following video that the Buffalo Sabres put up on their YouTube account that documents the entire thing.  It’s a great video, and something that the world needs more of.

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