263 days after doctors diagnosed St. James
Canucks forward Shane Bigourdin with Hodgkin lymphoma, he'll be back on the
ice in game action.
Bigourdin will make his return to the Canucks lineup against the River East Royal Knights this Sunday.
“I am for sure nervous because itĘs been a
while,” Bigourdin says. “I have not played since February so I am really excited
to get back on the ice with the boys again.”
Bigourdin noticed something was off with
his health during the 2016-17 Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League season. He
felt tired on the ice and ran out of breathe easily, something that was not
normal for him.
He went to the doctor for a checkup and
after a few weeks, received the unwelcome test results.
“It was pretty scary at the time,” Bigourdin
says. “But seven months later I am
completely cancer free, feeling a lot better and I feel like everything is back
to 100 per cent normal.”
Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer of the blood and
bone marrow. Treatments for it include radiation, chemotherapy, and in many
Bigourdin says players and staff from the
Canucks contacted him daily to ask him how he was doing. That – in addition to the
support he received from his family, friends and girlfriend – gave him the
strength he needed to get through his treatments in order to beat cancer and
get back on the ice.
“It was way easier to get back into it
knowing I had all those resources and being able to practice twice a week and
work out almost every day,” Bigourdin says. “There were definitely some doubts.
I always wanted to play the next week of course because I was excited to get
back in, but I knew I wouldnĘt be able to because of the contact and because I
just wasnĘt in full game shape.”
“It was pretty frustrating seeing all my
friends play and not being able to be out there with them.”
Bigourdins parents, grandparents and his
girlfriend will be in the crowd when he hits the ice tomorrow, which is
fitting, because that support system was a driving force in getting him back on
He says he is excited to join a team on the
upswing, as the Canucks come into tomorrows action winners of nine of their
past 12 games.
“I am excited to play with some of the new
players, the rookies and new vets,” Bigourdin says. “ItĘs going to be a different experience this
year, coming on halfway through and trying to add to the team, but it is
The Canucks and Royal Knights drop the puck
at 2:45 pm on Sunday, Dec. 3 at the St. James Civic Centre.