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Today marks fifth anniversary of Phil Kessel beating cancer

Phil Kessel; Mike Komisarek

Toronto Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel, right, is congratulated by Mike Komisarek after getting an assist on Tyler Bozak’s goal against Buffalo Sabres during second period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday March 12, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)


For whatever reason, Phil Kessel has been a divisive figure in the NHL when he should instead be a source of inspiration.

Just look at his rookie year: character issues were sited as he dropped a bit in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, but that hurdle didn’t compare to what happened about a month into that 2006-07 season. Kessel was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November 2006, yet he only took about two weeks to return from the surgery that resulted.

Today marks the five-year anniversary of Kessel being cancer-free, as TSN’s Katherine Dolan covers in this video.

Kessel already has an assist on a Joffrey Lupul goal, pushing his points total to an astounding 37. Obviously, that battle with a scary disease is far behind him, but it makes his amazing season that much more impressive.