Hockey Team Raises Money to Buy Home for Biggest Fan

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Disabled Boy Draws Inspiration from Favorite Hockey Team

Zach watched every Charlotte Checkers game on the Internet. Seeing the motivation that the team gave him, and the connection they shared, Zach's parents made a big decision. The team had moved to Charlotte -- and they would try to go as well. Last fall, they put their house up for sale in Albany.

"We're selling our house because our son asked us to," said Danielle. "Because he wants to be closer to his big brothers."

Zach's health care was key to the decision. Luckily, Charlotte is one of a handful of medical centers with doctors specializing in Zach's disease.

But Zach's father, Randy, a delivery truck driver, did not have steady work, and didn't know if his family could afford the move. He was determined to sell their home as soon as he could.

"My next move is to hit the Thruway," he said. "There is no looking back."

The Checkers offered to help. They held fundraisers and donated a portion of ticket sales to help pay for the move. The Checkers' owner, Michael Kahn, offered to do more.

"We decided we would help them with the purchase of a home here in Charlotte," he said. "Their house had not sold yet and that was holding them back from moving. It was time to get them down here."

On a Wednesday in April, Zach and his family pulled into a driveway in Matthews, N.C., 800 miles from Albany. It was their new home, purchased and furnished by the Checkers and several donors.

The Checkers players were waiting in the garage, ready to greet their biggest fan, who was able to walk on his own through the front door. The Bennetts couldn't hold back their tears as they looked around their new home.

The Charlotte Checkers are now well into their playoffs, and Zach Bennett is with them.

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