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Hockey Day in America: Cancer, bone marrow transplant unites brothers

Hockey player Charlie Capalbo was fighting cancer and with one selfless act, his brother, Will, saved his life. Don't miss their story on Hockey Day in America, with coverage beginning at noon ET on NBC.

The story of Charlie and Will Capalbo isn’t over, but it’s already both heartwarming and heartbreaking. You’ll be able to learn more about their story during NBC’s coverage of “Hockey Day in America” on Sunday.

In 2017, Charlie - the older Capalbo brother - learned that he had cancer after wrapping up his senior season as a goalie for Fairfield Ludlowe High School in Connecticut. Later on Will would also become a goalie for Fairfield, and he interrupted his senior season to donate bone marrow for his brother.

If Will is unable to return later this season, then his Jan. 29 start would give him a “Hollywood” send-off, as he managed a shutout.

Not much later, the bone marrow transplant took place on Feb. 4. While it takes weeks to see how such a process goes, the Goalie Guild provided an update on Feb. 6 that appeared optimistic, and noted that renowned Washington Capitals goalie coach Mitch Korn visited the brothers.

This CT Now video report provides some additional background on the story, including comments from Will.

It’s a truly remarkable story of brotherly love, with both the goaltending and Connecticut hockey communities rallying around Charlie and Will Capalbo.

Family friend John McCormick has posted a Go Fund Me account on Charlie’s behalf, and as of this writing, it’s reached $247,749 of its $285K goal. People can buy tickets to a Bridgeport Sound Tigers - Springfield Thunderbird game on Feb. 23, with proceeds going to that cause, as well. At least one other local team showed support by wearing Capalbo Strong stickers on their helmets.

You can find out more about the Capalbo brothers’ inspiring story during Sunday’s NBC telecast, which begins at noon ET.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.