After being diagnosed with testicular cancer on Dec. 3, Alaska sophomore forward Brennan Blaszczak returned to Fairbanks on Thursday to complete the remainder of the 2018-19 season and academic year.Blaszczak was diagnosed with Stage 1 testicular cancer before having the tumor successfully removed near his hometown of Troy, Mich., on Dec. 18. Blaszczak will not have to undergo any chemotherapy or radiation and is cleared to start working out with the team again on Feb. 1.“I am extremely thankful for the amazing support group around me in Fairbanks, as well as back home,” Blaszczak said in a statement. “I’m fortunate enough to say chemo isn’t necessary and I can get back up to school and be around the team again.”Blaszczak has appeared in 16 games for the Nanooks this season, registering one goal and two assists for three points. Following his cancer diagnosis, Blaszczak appeared in the lineup for back-to-back games against Lake Superior State in Fairbanks Dec. 7-8, registering one assist and a plus-1 rating.A Business Administration major at UAF, Blaszczak has appeared in 18 games throughout his two-year career with the Nanooks, tallying one goal and three assists for four points.“We are very excited to have Brennan back on campus and in our locker room,” added Alaska coach Erik Largen. “He has had such a positive impact on us on and off the ice and we have truly missed his presence. He is a strong person who is going to use this adversity to only get stronger.”Blaszczak becomes the second Alaska hockey player to have been diagnosed with testicular cancer in back-to-back years, following senior defenseman Jack Weiss’ diagnosis in Dec. 2017. Weiss underwent chemotherapy treatment in the spring of 2018 before successfully defeating the cancer and returning to the Nanooks lineup on Oct. 6 against Arizona State.
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