NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Merrimack coach Chris Serino will begin customized chemotherapy treatments on Wednesday in his battle against throat cancer, according to the Eagle-Tribune.
Serino, 52, was diagnosed with cancer at the end of August and has since undergone nearly a month of additional evaluation by oncologists and throat specialists. The result is a specialized regimen of treatments that is expected to last several weeks and which will be supervised by Dr. Marshall Posner of Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
“The bottom line is the schedule of my treatments will allow me to coach,” Serino told the Eagle-Tribune. “How I respond to the treatments, though, will determine if I can coach.”
Serino’s Warriors took to the ice for their first practice of the 2001-02 season today. Merrimack hosts Ottawa in an exhibition game Oct. 7 and opens the regular season with a pair of games at Miami, Oct. 11-12.
“First of all, I’ve got an obligation to my family to get better,” Serino said. “Next, I’ve got to make sure there is no confusion on the part of my team as to what my role will be. If I’m going to be on the bench or up in the box or just at practice, I’ll make that decision right away.
“But I’m going to try to do what I’ve always done. I can’t see me sitting at home for four months doing nothing.”
Merrimack has already announced that if necessary, associate head coach Mike Doneghey will serve as interim coach in Serino’s absence.
“We’re all an extension of him,” Doneghey said. “We all know how he wants things run, and the kids know what’s going on. We’ve got a good group of upperclassmen who have been here for three or four years. These are all our guys who know the expectations are high and know they have to come to work whether Chris is here or not.”
Serino, entering his fourth year at Merrimack’s helm, said he is grateful for the outpouring of support he has received from the college hockey community.
“I’ve been absolutely humbled by the support people have shown me,” he said to the Eagle-Tribune. “There’s no way I could possibly get back to everyone who has been in contact. Each one means something special. I appreciate them all and want to thank them, but I wouldn’t know how to answer, it’s that humbling. I’m pretty lucky.”