By Carter Brooks
Photo by Jeff Miller
Former Brandon Wheat Kings' captain Stelio Mattheos will not be in attendance at Carolina Hurricanes training camp this fall.
Shortly after helping the American Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers to a Calder Cup title, the 20-year-old was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and began appropriate treatments shortly thereafter. Hurricanes' President and General Manager Don Waddell announced Monday that Carolina's third round draft selection from 2017 (73rd overall) will continue with treatments into the early fall. He will miss 2019 training camp.
"I'd like to thank everyone who reached out to offer support and well wishes since the diagnosis," Mattheos said in a team-issued press release. "I've had amazing support from my friends, family, teammates, coaches and all of the hockey organizations I've been a part of, including the Hurricanes, Checkers and Brandon Wheat Kings."
Mattheos - who put together back-to-back 90-point seasons with the Wheat Kings the past two years - underwent treatment in Winnipeg and proceeded with surgery to remove one testicle. Mattheos has since undergone various bouts of chemotherapy, pushing for a full recovery. He expects to return to the Hurricanes when medically cleared.
"I owe a debt of gratitude to my surgeon, Dr. Sabeer Rehsia, and all of the staff at Grace Hospital, as well as Dr. Piotr Czaykowski at Cancer Care Manitoba and all of the nurses on the chemotherapy ward," Mattheos continued.
This treatment is very similar of that of current Arizona Coyote Phil Kessel, who also received a testicular cancer diagnosis and had one testicle removed midway through the 2006-07 NHL season. Kessel's recovery was fast-tracked, requiring the former Boston Bruin to miss just three weeks of hockey.
Mattheos, a former No. 1 selection in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft - spent the past four years playing in the Western Hockey League with the Wheat Kings, racking up 127 goals, 278 points and 227 penalty minutes in 253 regular season contests, including a WHL championship in 2015. Upon completion of the 2018-19 season, Mattheos joined the Checkers for their successful Calder Cup championship playoff run, potting three goals and four points in 14 games.