A 16-year-old trans teenager from Canada always dreamed of meeting Vancouver Canucks hockey star Cory Schneider, but it always felt like he would never get there.
But for Cory Oskham, his dreams became reality when he met the star and shared the ice with his hero.
On 21 January, the teen and advocate was preparing to give one of his speeches on homophobia and transphobia in schools at the Dare to Stand Out Vancouver conference.
Just before the presentation, his mother wowed him by revealing his hero had heard about the teen and wanted to skate with him that day.
‘I’m a really big card collector,’ Oskham told the official Canucks website. ‘I was collecting all kinds of cards and my mom said to pick my favourite and collect him – it was getting a bit out of control.
‘Then I opened a pack of cards and pulled a really sick Cory Schneider card. It just clicked; I needed to start collecting him.
‘Around the time I started collecting Schneider, it was time to pick a name. I went through a handful: Will, William, Matt, Matthew, none of them really felt right, then my mom suggested Cory and I started using it around the house. It felt very right. Cory felt very right.’
Oskham, who also plays as goaltender for the Brittania School Hockey Academy, began taking hormone blockers at age nine and started taking testosterone a year and a half ago.
‘I went into high school not who I am, but being in grade 10 now I feel very much like part of the high school,’ Oskham said.
‘I felt like an outsider, but now I have a great support system and a great group of friends, which I’ve never had before. Life is great.’