By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4)– If not in Tampa Bay, Ball Arena with all the sights, smells and sounds was the next best place to watch the Colorado Avalanche battle it out in Game 4.

(credit: CBS)

“This arena and these fans are unbelievable,” Christy Simard said.

Simard and her 12-year-old daughter Elise made the trip form Saskatchewan, Canada, their second visit to Denver since the team started their run for the cup.

“I really can’t even describe how amazing it has been and how amazing the Avs culture has been,” she said.

The two watched two playoff games in Denver and were set to attend Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but Elise who has battled medical conditions since birth, got sick.

The opportunities for them to be in the crowd didn’t just happen but started in 2019 when Elise met now-Colorado Avalanche center Alex Newhook at a Victoria Grizzlies game.

(credit: Christy Simard)

“He knew we were coming, he had it all arranged, ready to go and the two of them were making googly eyes at each other through the glass,” Simard said.

The picture of the two of them took off on social media and the two stayed connected, Elise has been his biggest fan ever since.

“It’s pretty amazing the bond that these two have,” she said.

Mom says the newfound love for hockey has given Elise a sense of belonging and a social connection like nothing else.

“She’s a pretty amazing kid and doesn’t really let things slow her down, other than she gets shy with cameras,” Mom laughed.

Elise’s story spread and with it a fundraiser that helped pay for her trip to the playoffs and quite possibly a final game as well.

(credit: CBS)

“This has been something I could never give to her, I couldn’t and it’s something I think she’ll remember for the rest of her life.”

The relationship with Newhook has grown to the point where Elise sends Alex a text now before every game, so he knows he has her support.

Karen Morfitt