BOSTON -- 10-year-old Josh Bello of Needham is the Boston College men's hockey team's biggest fan.
The fourth-grader, who's been battling the rare kidney disorder nephrotic syndrome since he was 5 years old, was drafted by the Eagles through Team Impact back in 2019. Since then, he's grown close with the program and the players.
"It's really fun going down into the locker room after every game, high-fiving them when they come out to go in between periods," Bello said. "They're really, really good. I think they're number one in the country this year."
Outside of the wins and losses on the ice, though, BC's influence on Josh goes much deeper.
"He watches them go through ups and downs in their games, in their careers, and how they handle themselves on the ice," Josh's mom, Melissa, said. "Maybe there's something that doesn't go their way, but he soaks that all in."
As for the Eagles, they too have learned lessons from Josh, as they've been to his school, attended a birthday party at his house, and hosted him at BC several times.
"I think it just kind of serves as a reminder that when you put the jersey on, you're representing more than just yourself and the guys in that locker room," BC assistant captain Gentry Shamburger said. "Josh is there every day and he just reminds us that we're playing for something bigger, for all the kids around the world looking up to us and for all the kids who want to be college athletes and hockey players and just the broader community as a whole. He obviously means the world to us."
Josh was elated to see BC beat archrival BU twice so far this season, and heading into the locker room was exciting -- but also a bit eye-opening -- for him.
"Yeah, there were a couple bad words," Josh said of his locker-room visit.
"He's very good at not repeating them," his mother said.
"I won't confirm or deny on TV," Shamburger laughed.
Josh wouldn't mind hearing a few more of those words if it means the Eagles' winning continues.
"That would be pretty fun," Josh said of potentially seeing BC win a national championship. :"And yeah, maybe there would be more bad words in the locker room."
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