Ivan Miroshnichenko’s recent return to the game of hockey following successful treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has been truly inspiring. Miroshnichenko returned to team workouts on October 21 and was cleared for game action on November 6. He has subsequently recorded six goals and two assists and named “player of the game” twice in his first six games back for the Avangard Omsk Hawks of the MHL.
Miroshnichenko was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in February, but was cleared by doctors to return to skating and workouts after successfully completing a course of treatment in Germany in back June.
During his recovery Miroshnichenko received support from people worldwide, including a former NHL MVP, who successfully battled the same disease.
“In my research, I learned that the type of lymphoma I had responded to treatment well and had a high cure rate,” the 18-year-old told NHL.com. “But in addition, Mario Lemieux reached out to me in March and we had a great conversation. Knowing that Mr. Lemieux was the League MVP after having Hodgkin’s lymphoma helped me a lot.”
Mario Lemieux, a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
survivor, spoke with 2022 NHL top prospect Ivan Miroshnichenko via video call and wished him all the best in his fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Ivan was recently diagnosed and will be taking time away from hockey to recover. pic.twitter.com/WgXnvezKPb
— BarDown (@BarDown) March 9, 2022
According to NHL.com, Lemieux was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma after 40 games in 1992-93. He would need weeks of radiation treatments but ultimately won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer that season with 160 points (69 goals, 91 assists) in 60 games.
Lemieux sat out the 1994-95 season because of fatigue caused by his radiation therapy but returned in 1995-96, won another scoring title with 161 points (69 goals, 92 assists) in 70 games and the Hart Trophy, voted as the NHL’s most valuable player.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) November 16, 2022
“I knew that something was wrong, but it was difficult to believe it was cancer. I received treatment for about three months, and they were difficult times, but the support I received helped me persevere,” said Miroshnichenko.
“I’m cancer-free now, don’t need any treatments, or need to be under the doctor’s care,” Miroshnichenko said. “Physically, I’m pretty much there, but it will take some more time for some aspects of the game to get to where I want them to be.”
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) November 7, 2022
Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney told NHL.com that Washington’s medical staff examined Miroshnichenko’s health records, and he felt good about the player’s status following a video conference with him in May.
“I was in Germany in April at the Under-18 World Championship and met Ivan and his father,” Mahoney said. “I think he was already in his second round of chemotherapy, and he had lost a lot of weight, lost his hair, and he was wearing a cap. He looked really thin and I thought, ‘What a tough situation.’ Then we did a Zoom call with him in May when he was finishing up his treatments, and he looked a lot better.”
The team ultimately selected Miroshnichenko in the first round (#20 overall) of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft held on July 7.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) November 17, 2022
Miroshnichenko couldn’t offer a time frame to when he might be able to one day play in the NHL, but he’s certainly working toward that goal.
“Before I answer this, I’d like to finish the season and help my team win the championship [in Russia],” Mirochnichenko said. “After that, my agent and the Capitals will come up with a timetable. I’m having a lot of fun playing hockey. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone. I want to get better and be successful at the next level.”
By Jon Sorensen