Golden Knights’ Theodore opens up about battle with testicular cancer

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Vegas Golden Knights defender Shea Theodore revealed on Thursday that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer over the summer and opened up about his battle with in a Players’ Tribune article.

The manner in which Theodore got the diagnosis is a stunning case of being in the right place at the right time.

It all happened when he joined Team Canada for the World Championships following the Golden Knights’ Round 1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. During that tournament he was drug-tested, and informed that he failed his test before the quarterfinals due to a hormone called hCG that is usually only found in pregnant woman. Doctors told him that in some cases it can also be a sign of testicular cancer.

Upon returning home from the tournament, he saw his doctor and received the official diagnosis.

From there, Theodore shared his story of having to tell his girlfriend, family, and teammates about his diagnosis and the fear that came along with the entire situation.

Theodore’s surgery and thee ensuing biopsy showed that it was “a mixed germ cell tumor: embryonal and seminoma, stage I.” And while he said the embryonal component can be aggressive and spread, his was caught early enough due to the blood testing that is done at the World Championships.

Theodore called that entire butterfly effect “mind-boggling.”

Theodore also wrote about a chance encounter he had with Phil Kessel at an airport and how he couldn’t bring himself to mention his diagnosis and talk about it. Kessel, of course, missed time early in his career due to the same diagnosis. Even though he did not tell Kessel, Theodore still received a text from him the morning of his surgery.

Writes Theodore:

Now, I won’t lie to you, the night before the surgery, I was a bundle of nerves. I was just a mess. My girlfriend and I tried to watch a movie to take my mind off everything, and I genuinely could not tell you what movie we watched that night. I don’t remember anything. I was completely up in my head, consumed by anxiety.

The next morning, I got a text from a random number. It was Phil. My agent had told him that I was going in for surgery, and he sent me a really nice text wishing me luck and telling me that everything was going to be O.K.

To hear that from somebody who had been through it himself, and come out the other side not just healthy, but a superstar player in this league, it meant so much to me.

Theodore did not mention if he will have to miss any time but is included on the Golden Knights’ training camp roster and there is no indication or note about him missing any time.

Additionally, Theodore will donate to early detection causes for every point he records this season.

You can read Theodore’s entire story here.

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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.