Streatham Redhawks proud to wear fan’s logo on jerseys

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Streatham Redhawks proud to wear fan’s logo on jerseys - South West Londoner

A seven-year-old fan of Streatham Redhawks ice hockey was brought to tears when he found out his favourite team would be wearing his logo on their shirts.

Since the start of last season, the Streatham Redhawks have had a distinctive heart-and-ribbon design on every single one of their jerseys, in honour of Mickey Pickett, an ultra-fan of the side with a rare genetic bowel condition.

Mickey, known affectionately to everyone on the team as ‘Little Mickey’, was diagnosed at birth with Hirschsprung’s disease, which meant he lacked nerves in his lower intestines.

His mother, Emma, said: “The club’s a very supportive atmosphere. It’s so nice, because all the players families go and we always talk to them.

“It’s Mickey’s happy place. It’s it’s the only time he lets his hair down.

“The only downside of it all is when we lose, he gets so into it that he sobs his heart out.”

For Mickey, watching the team play at the weekend allows him to forget about his condition, which has given him abdominal pains since he had an operation on his lower intestines at seven months old.

Emma said: “Every game they play, Mickey goes down and fist bumps the players. It’s a lucky thing for him.

“Then after the game he asks the guys to go in the locker room. They’re absolutely brilliant the lads and they’ve always let him in.”

Mickey became such well-known face down at Streatham that the clubs owners suggested they should have the logo of the Hirschsprung’s disease awareness group the Picketts were part of on their home, away and warm-up tops.

Since the logo was added to the design, members of the club have been even more conscious of the challenges Mickey face.

On the changes she’s seen following its introduction, Emma said: “A lot more people talk about it with me, and they’re like, ‘we really didn’t realize what he goes through’.

“It’s so nice to see people learn about Hirschsprung’s. They put it in the program and they put a link up about Hirschsprung’s on their website so people can read about it.

“To have that awareness is just amazing, because Hirschsprung’s is just so rare and unusual.”

Streatham Ice Hockey have also engaged in a number of other charitable projects.

They run bake sales throughout the season, raising money for causes ranging from the school of another fan with non-verbal autism to the charity shop one of their members of staff works at.

Despite everyone involved in running the club being a volunteer, co-owner Dawn D’Anger is proud of how deeply integrated into the area the Streatham Redhawks have become.

She said: “We see ourselves as a community club. We are like a little family. Really we are.

“We couldn’t do it without a list of volunteers, so it’s nice to be able to do stuff back for them.”

For Mickey, Emma and the rest of the Picketts, that statement certainly holds true, as up to 12 members of their extended family attend Streatham games at a time.

However, Emma insists the Streatham community goes well beyond just literal blood relatives and that it only takes attending one game to become hooked on the sport.

She said: “Everyone that goes to a hockey match who’s never been before is shocked by how family oriented it is, and then they always come back.”

Feature image courtesy of Streatham Ice Hockey Club