When Detroit Fighting Irish of the U.S. Premier Hockey League honours cancer survivors and victims in a game with the rival Motor City Hawks on Sunday, it will have special meaning for one young player.
That’s because Jordan Gilbert, a 17-year old goalie with the Fighting Irish, is a cancer survivor.
When he was just 14-months old, Gilbert with diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and would spend the next three years of his young life undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and bone marrow treatments.
Amazingly, at age five — and with the approval of doctors — he began learning how to skate and a few years after, he started to play hockey, eventually becoming a full-time goalie.
By the time Gilbert advanced to high school hockey, he was an all-star goalie before moving up to the junior level with the Fighting Irish of Detroit this season.
One of Gilbert’s Fighting Irish teammates, defenseman Avery Keith, has a special story to relate about his long-time friend.
“I have played with Jordan since we were 7-years old and he was cancer free by then,” Keith recalled. “However, when you are in the locker room with Jordan you can still see the scars on his chest and it’s a real reminder that health is not guaranteed and while most of us take a lifetime to figure this out, Jordan learned it at an early age.
“It is an honour to be able to go to the rink every day and skate with a player who not only embodies the spirit of the game we love but with a life that is so infectious. Jordan is truly a hero,” said Keith.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Join the Detroit Fighting Irish as the team honours cancer survivors and victims with a “heroes day” this Sunday when it plays the Motor City Hawks at 2 p.m. at the Brownstown Sports Center. During the game, Fighting Irish players and staff from the American Cancer Society will be on hand to distribute information on how to help in the fight against cancer.)