Hayden Foulon is gone but not forgotten.
The 7-year-old from London, Ont. lost her battle with leukemia on Sunday, and Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner dedicated the season to the young hockey fan.
Foulon and Marner struck up a friendship while the right winger was playing for the OHL’s London Knights and they kept in contact while Marner made his way to the NHL. Foulon attended a charity event hosted by Marner in Toronto and was a guest of his at the Leafs’ home opener last season.
Foulon was declared cancer-free in early 2018 but the disease returned a few months later and ultimately succumbed to the disease on Oct. 20.
“After an incredibly brave nearly six-year battle with leukemia, we are broken-hearted to share that our sweet Hayden passed away last night,” Lindsay Foulon, Hayden’s mother, wrote in a Facebook post.
Marner shared his reaction on Twitter on Monday afternoon, posting a picture of himself and Foulon in the Leafs’ locker room.
“It breaks my heart to know I’ll never be able to see you again,” Marner wrote. “How you fought your battles always inspired me, you were my hero. I know you’ll be watching me from up above. I’ll miss you.”
Last night we lost our little fighter Hayden. It breaks my heart to know I’ll never be able to see you again. How you fought your battles always inspired me, you were my hero. I know you’ll be watching me from up above. I’ll miss you. pic.twitter.com/Tk7mxZIXbS
— Mitchell Marner (@Marner93) October 21, 2019
Marner dedicated the rest of the season to Foulon’s memory moments prior to Toronto’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
“She’ll never be forgotten,” Marner told Sportsnet’s Shawn McKenzie. “This year is going to be for her.”