Maine’s Walsh Has Kidney Removed; Seeks Further Cancer Treatment

Shawn Walsh, who has turned the Maine men’s ice hockey program into a national power and guided it to two NCAA Championships, began the battle of his life Friday when he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous kidney.

According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, the surgery, though successful, is far from putting Walsh in the clear. Reports indicate that the cancer has spread to Walsh’s lymph nodes under his breast bone in his chest.

The cancer was diagnosed as renal cell carcinoma, which, according to the Press Herald, is the most common type of kidney cancer. Early diagnosis of the disease presents a 60-75 percent five-year survival rate. But when the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, that same survival rate decreases drastically to 5-15 percent. Should the cancer spread further into other organs, that rate decreases to five percent.

Walsh is said to be considering a 20-day intensive treatment at UCLA’s cancer facility following the two- to three-week recovery period from Friday’s operation.

Meanwhile, the hockey community has rallied behind the often controversial coach. Walsh told the Press Herald that, “the support has been heartwarming. The hockey community is a fraternity.

“This is something a lot of people have to undergo and you’ve got to be as strong as you can. My wife has been phenomenal and my family has been great.”

University of Maine officials said that Walsh will keep administrative and non-coaching duties to a minimum this summer, but will try to stay involved.

“I think it’s the best way for him to handle things,” said Maine junior defenseman Doug Janik to the Bangor Daily News. “Coaching comes naturally to him. It’s his normal way of life, and keeping a normal routine will keep him positive and motivated.

“As a team, we’re going to try to support him as much as we can like he has always supported us.”

Michigan State head coach Ron Mason, who gave Walsh his start in coaching while Walsh was a student at Bowling Green, said he was “completely shocked” by the news. Walsh coached under Mason at Michigan State, and his ex-wife is Mason’s daughter.

“It has stayed with me ever since I heard. We’re all sick about it,” said Mason to the Daily News.

In 16 seasons, Walsh’s Black Bears have compiled a 379-203-37 record, with seven Frozen Four appearances. He led Maine to its first NCAA Championship in 1993, then was suspended for one year, and the school barred from the NCAA tournament for two seasons, due to various NCAA violations. Walsh returned to lead the Black Bears to another championship in 1999.

This past season, Walsh led his Black Bears to the Hockey East tournament championship and another berth in the NCAA Frozen Four, where they fell to the eventual-national champion, North Dakota.

31 COMMENTS

    • Hey fool, you are right about the referees. Three of the six calls against DU were “phantom”. You might want to check the rule on goalie interference, even Motzko knew it would be waved off when they showed replay on scoreboard. He was talking with the linesman while it was being reviewed and he was shaking his head side to side, knowing the correct call would be made. I know there is no way SCSU could ever lose fair and square.

        • Hope you can bail next week, should be great games. You know I never comment when DU wins but using refs, who certainly did Denver no favors, as an excuse is a total joke. We have had four goals disallowed this year, last night was first it went other way.

          • I’m surprised there weren’t any bonehead calls in the UND game. Our 4th goal, they actually never saw it go in and went in for a review. Really surprised that there wasnt “intent” to blow the whistle. Pretty sure UND has been on the wrong side of that call way too many times. But from your game to ours…I can only see one common denominator……Top Todd wasnt on the ice at either game.

      • That waved off goal, maybe he was helped a little, but its not like he was run over and helped in there. It’s almost like they bumped into each other and then the SC guy just leaned down on your goalie.

        • I had a friend watching the game on ALT text me with 2 words, NO GOAL. We only got one look on the big screen, once refs start looking, NCHC rule prohibits any more replays at arena. If the original SCSU player that was jostling with DU player at side of the net, would have scored on his original shot, it would have been good goal. Once it was blocked, the SCSU player stayed in the crease and hooked Jaillet with his stick, that is what they looked at and determined interference.

        • It was called a good goal in real time. To overturn it, I would think it would have to be conclusive. IMO, it was debatable whether it was the Huskie, on his own, or whether he was “helped” into the goaltender by the 2 Pioneer defensemen. In any event, such calls need to be consistent–I’ve already seen cases (in other games) where such “goaltender interference” was not even called. It was an untimely, bad break for St. Cloud.

          • Wasn’t overturned for him originally going into the crease. If his original shot went in there wouldn’t have been a review. He staying in the crease and his stick hooked Jaillet, so he couldn’t move to the center for the rebound that was put in. Denver has had 4 goals disallowed already this year. Don’t think you could say these refs were homers. Either way, it was a great game, typical NCAA playoff hockey.

          • Sometimes consistency is a problem with the reffing. It has been especially terrible in the same game sometimes.

          • I missed the first one since I was on the UND feed. The DU tv announcers crack me up because they get so excited anytime the puck gets close to the net, pretty hilarious.

          • I dont care for our main TV guy, he is the same way. Talks in that stupid news/game broadcaster voice, which is completely annoying. I always mute the tv and pull up our radio guy on my phone.

          • You can see it now. Go to NCHC.TV, you don’t have to sign in. Go halfway down the page and click on St. Cloud vs. Denver condensed game. It won’t let you view it but if you click to the second box on right St. Cloud vs Denver highlights, you can view the goals without being a subscriber. Take a look and let me know what you think.

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