Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Rodion Amirov has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Wednesday.
"I regret to inform our fans that Rodion Amirov has been diagnosed with a brain tumour," general manager Kyle Dubas said in a statement. "Rodion commenced the 2021-22 season with Salavat Ufa of the KHL but suffered an injury to open the season. During the course of his recovery from this injury, he developed some new, unrelated symptoms that required ongoing extensive investigations over the last few months."
Amirov, who is currently undergoing treatment in Germany, will not play for the remainder of the season, but the 2020 first-round selection is approaching the situation with a positive mindset.
“I want to stay positive, and I want people to think positively about me. …There are many other people that have their own sicknesses or illnesses. I want to show by example that I can give people hope,” Amirov told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Amirov just finished his first week of chemotherapy, but he's still skating three times per week and working on his craft.
“I’m living a normal life,” he said . “I’m continuing to practise, to skate, to go to the gym. The doctors support [that] I continue on. I shoot, work on my hands, basically the same drills I would do normally, but by myself.”
The 20-year-old winger is not the first professional hockey player in recent memory to receive a life-changing diagnosis. Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in 2019 and returned to the Flyers lineup just nine months later. In 2017, Brian Boyle, then with the New Jersey Devils, announced that he had been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a form of bone marrow cancer, and returned to the ice a year later.
Amirov played 10 games for Ufa this season, scoring a goal and earning two assists.
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