Eagle-eyed ice hockey fan alerts Canucks assistant manager to cancerous mole
Vancouver Canucks coach Brian Hamilton deals with a player on the bench. Photo / Getty
Brian ‘Red’ Hamilton was moving equipment on the Vancouver Canucks bench between periods on Oct. 23 in Seattle when he noticed a woman behind the bench leaning her phone against the plexiglass.
The message on his phone was in large print and caught the attention of Hamilton, the Canucks’ assistant equipment manager. The post expressed Nadia Popovici’s concern that she believed a mole on Hamilton’s neck was cancerous and that he needed to get it checked out.
It turned out she was right.
“I was feeling bad right now because I was pulling away from the bench and she put her phone against the window and on the phone, she said the mole on the back of her neck was cancer. And that upset me. Hamilton remembers. Saturday before the Canucks play their second game of the season in Seattle. “So I kind of shrugged my shoulders and continued. My first response when I found out I was feeling bad because I felt like I hadn’t really given him the time to go. the day. I’m glad she knows because she needs to know. “
The Canucks posted a letter from Hamilton Saturday, telling the story of it all and expressing his thanks and desire to meet the woman in question. In just an hour, the Canucks and Seattle Kraken says Popovici had been contacted and arrangements were made for the duo to try to meet before the Kraken and Canucks game on Saturday night.
Hamilton has been with the Canucks for nearly 20 years, starting with the team in 2002. Amid the chaos around the bench in an NHL game, Hamilton said he was amazed Popovici had even noticed a mole he didn’t even know existed.
“How she saw it is beyond me,” said Hamilton. “It wasn’t very big. I wear a jacket. I wear a radio on the back of my jacket that hangs on so the chords are there.”
The game in Seattle in October was the final stop on the Canucks’ maiden road trip. Days after returning to Vancouver, Hamilton asked medics on the team to examine the mole in question. When they expressed concern, Hamilton had it removed a few days later and sent it in for a biopsy.
The biopsy results came back showing that there were cancer cells in the mole. A larger area of skin around the mole was then removed for examination and Hamilton said it came back negative.
Hamilton was told by his doctors that mole cancer could have turned fatal within a few years if it had not been treated.
“It was only on the outer layer of my skin,” Hamilton said. “It hadn’t penetrated until the second layer of my skin and that’s because we caught it so early.”
Hamilton said the sole purpose of telling his story and getting the letter out was to recognize Popovici for his efforts to get his attention and craft the post.
“I understand that I’m part of the story, but she needs to know that she is the story,” Hamilton said. “This is the person who did this. She saved her life.… She needs to know that her efforts were worthwhile and that they are going well.”