College Hockey:
Walsh Returns to Black Bear Bench

— Just five days removed from his last immunotherapy treatment for kidney cancer, Maine coach Shawn Walsh will return to the Black Bear bench for tonight’s contest against Ohio State. It marks Walsh’s first game this season.

Walsh missed the team’s season-opening series against North Dakota, and then last weekend’s Black Bear Classic tournament, while at UCLA receiving treatment. Assistant coach Gene Reilly served as interim head coach in Walsh’s absence.

Walsh flew back to Orono on Monday, following the second and last 20-day immunotherapy session. He participated briefly in practice one day later and then skated and directed Wednesday’s practice.

“It’s so great to be back in Maine,” he said. “Practice on Wednesday was invigorating.”

At the practice, he yelled at one player’s mistake, prompting one Black Bear veteran to say with a big smile, “He’s back!”

Walsh was diagnosed this summer with renal cell carcinoma. Following the removal of a kidney, Walsh has received immunotherapy treatments designed to prod the immune system into aggressively attacking malignant cells.

Walsh’s prognosis will not be known for another three or four weeks.

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