Washington Capitals 2022 first-round draft selection Ivan Miroshnichenko is off to a blazing hot start in Russia since returning from Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment. The 18-year-old sniper has scored in five straight MHL games and recorded eight points (6 goals, 2 assists) in his first six games back.
The top prospect sat down with the Russian outlet Match TV’s Pavel Lysenkov and talked about a variety of topics including his return, his cancer journey, and his conversation with NHL legend Mario Lemieux.
Miroshnichenko jumped on the ice for game action for the first time this season on November 6. He played 15:11 of ice time, registered three shots on goal, and was credited with five hits as he worked to get his legs back under him.
“In general I am very glad that I am playing hockey again, gaining points,” Miroshnichenko said via Google Translate. “Thank god the bad is over. I want to take a break from these hospitals, from all the talk about health. The matches have begun, and it’s all gone a little. There was only one thought, ‘Finally, I’m back!’ I understand how long everyone has been waiting for this. The fans were very worried about me.”
That special return was brought on by a shock diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma last March. The talented youngster was in the middle of his first NHL Draft eligible season and was projected to be taken off the board very early in the first round.
“It appeared as itching, coughing, sweating,” Miroshnichenko said. “I didn’t understand. How could I know what was the reason? Well, I cough – I drink syrup. I began to get very tired, very winded at the games. In hockey, we are examined twice a season. I took tests, and they told me – some kind of bad blood.
“Well, that’s all, they began to drive me to the doctors, to check everywhere,” he continued. “Went to a clinic in Germany. They took a biopsy and cut out one lymph node. And they diagnosed it as Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I decided that I needed to pull myself together and be positive. I read on the Internet that athletes have already defeated this disease. A Canadian snowboarder had been ill with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but he returned to sports. Now he wins and enjoys life.”
It wasn’t an easy journey, but Miroshnichenko was able to get back into the gym and train again in June. His return to full, on-ice team practice with Avangard Omsk’s VHL affiliate happened in late October.
“I went through four cycles of chemotherapy,” Miroshnichenko said. “The second one was the most painful for me. I went to the hospital to lie down. I could no longer be at home. After the second course, they said that everything was clean. I went through the third and fourth courses of chemotherapy calmly, with joy.”
The gifted left wing says that a conversation with NHL legend Mario Lemieux is partially responsible for his positive attitude during the grueling recovery process. Super Mario spoke with Miroshnichenko via video right after the Russian teenager got the news about his diagnosis. Lemieux himself was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 1993.
Mario Lemieux, a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
survivor, spoke with 2022 NHL top prospect Ivan Miroshnichenko via video call and wished him all the best in his fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Ivan was recently diagnosed and will be taking time away from hockey to recover. pic.twitter.com/WgXnvezKPb
— BarDown (@BarDown) March 9, 2022
“We talked for about 40 minutes,” Miroshnichenko said. “Mario told his story, and it was very cool to talk with such a person. He also went through all this, suffered from Hodgkin’s disease. He returned to hockey, played at the highest level again. His example is inspiring. Moreover, we communicated at the very beginning of my treatment.
“That conversation with Lemieux helped a lot,” he continued. “So, there was no reason to give up. I recovered relatively quickly. The treatment itself went from February to May, when I lived in Germany. Then I returned to Russia, did nothing for a month. Then I slowly began to go to the gym, to get in shape.”
Now, Miroshnichenko is ready to put the work in to make his way to the NHL. He is well on his way after his impressive start in the Russian junior ranks this season.
“I will prove that [the Capitals] did not make a mistake with the choice,” Miroshnichenko finished. “But this must be done step by step. And first, play in Russia. Climb the stairs – MHL, VHL, KHL, national team. Everything has its time. And whatever happens, it’s all for the best.”
Screenshot via OLIMPBET МХЛ/MHL
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