As an introduction, I have scanned over a few stories that appeared in Wikipedia, www.nhl.com, www.bostonbruins.com, www.habsworld.net, and a few other websites that I don't remember, but none of this is copied unless I have an interview or stats here.
Phil Kessel has a story like no other, is what some will say. But really, it's almost like Saku Koivu and Mario Leamiuex. All three players meant a lot to their respective teams at the time of the diagnosis. Kessel was the Bruins best rookie, Koivu was the Habs top center, and Mario Lemiuex was in his prime. They made awesome recoveries in relation to the disease.
Saku Koivu was diagnosed with abdominal cancer on September 5th, 2001, later specified as non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He remained optimistic until mid-December, and probably all the way until his amazing return. Requesting that the media not cover him, he made an astonishing announcement in early April, 2002, that he was returning to the lineup. He finished the '02 post season with 4 goals and 6 assists in only 12 games. Captain Koivu received so much coverage then, it was like he never left.
Mario Lemiuex perhaps had the most amazing recovery of all. Diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in the midst of the 1992-1993 season, Lemiuex underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments in time to come back and win the scoring title once again, although his team did not win the Stanley Cup. He had to overcome poor team play and Pat LaFontaine, but managed it thoroughly.
Phil Kessel is our current cancer recover-er, and his story is also captivating. In the midst of his rookie season, he withdrew from hockey due to medical reasons. Diagnosed with testicular cancer, he recovered quickly to return to his struggling Bruins, and was in this past YoungStars game, scoring a hat trick.
Hockey is a sport that shouldn't only be looked upon as people skating around trying to crush each other. We have had 3 significant cancer recoveries, and many other inspiring comebacks, like Clint Malarchuk recovering from a sliced jugular vein to play again 11 days later. Borje Salming almost had his face cut open right down the middle, yet played again, and who doesn't remember Gordie Howe slamming his head into the boards, but recovering in time to win the Stanley Cup the next year. Respect hockey.