FAIRBANKS, Alaska - In November 2017 Jack Weiss, a Defenseman for the Alaska Nanooks Hockey Program received the worst of news when the doctors informed him that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, but the hardest part was being away from the team.
"The hardest point was probably just being so far away from the guys when I had to go back and get treatment. And you know watch the team kind of struggled and not being able to be there. You know, be on the inside of everything, being in the locker room and being on the ice. And then probably even more than that was the toughest thing to see was my parents. They, they took it a lot harder than I did. You know it's just so nice to be back and doing more normal things now and back on a regular regiment. But yeah, that was probably the toughest, the two toughest things I had to overcome there," said Weiss.
Weiss went back home to Minnesota to receive treatment at the Mayo Clinic, going through three months of chemotherapy and another surgery that took out most of his summer.
For Weiss however, getting on the ice with his dad for the first since being cancer free was an emotional moment for him.
“I actually was able to go on the ice on the outdoor rink with my dad right when treatment ended. It was pretty special to get out there and feel the cold air on your face. He was the first one to see me skate and be out there with me just passing the puck and all that. And it was, it felt pretty good, and just care free and get away from things,” said Weiss.
Meanwhile at the University, then Assisstant Coach Erik Largen watched Jack go from playing on the ice, to being out of commission for the foreseeable future.
Now as the Head Coach, Largen got to see Weiss return to the ice in the Blue and Gold game as well as the exhibition match against Simon Fraser.
"I mean yeah, it's heart breaking, you have a lot of thoughts that run through your head. And you know the biggest thing is trying to imagine how Jack is feeling, and his family is feeling at that time, it's pretty unimaginable. And you just to be able to see the struggle that he is going through and to hear it in his voice it's a pretty heart breaking thing."
This is the second time that the Nanook community was rocked by cancer, as Weiss was reached out to by Justin Woods, who also battled cancer.
Weiss says that the Woods family helped him tackle this tough situation while living away from home.
Now Weiss and the Nanooks head off to the lower 48 to face the Arizona State Sun Devils this weekend and Jack Weiss hits the ice for the regular season for the first time in nearly a year.