Author: Lindsey Micheletti
Nick Smallidge, an Eagan High School Class of 2013 graduate was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was a hockey player at Eagan but beside athletics he is one of those kids could put a smile on anyone’s face in a room. He has such a positive energy that can make anyone’s day better just by being in his presence. I conducted an interview with Nick to learn more about him and his situation.
Tell me about your hockey background/timeline:
I started playing hockey very young. My parents had me on skates as soon as I could stand up pretty much. I played youth hockey for Eagan, from mini-mites to bantams. I played on the Minnesota Machine out of Minnesota Made in Edina, Breakaway USAAA Hockey out of Chaska and many of the selects leagues during the summer. I played high school hockey at Eagan up until last year (2012-13) season where I was an assistant captain of that team. After high school I moved on to play junior hockey. I skated most of my season with the Hudson Crusaders (MNJHL) and ended my season with the Minnesota Magicians (NAHL)
What is the story of your cancer journey so far?
It has been a roller coaster for me. One day I'm going to the doctor for what was thought to be food poisoning, the next I find out I have a tumor in my bladder. It scared me when the doctor was speechless because I am the youngest patient he has ever had with bladder cancer. However he has said that as long as I continue to get checked and the news continues to be positive I will have beaten it.
How has hockey/being on a sports team impacted your life?
Sports... Hockey is my life. It's as simple as that. The hockey community is unbelievable with all of the support. I have made many friends through the game and it is a second family. I am very grateful for everything hockey has given me.
How does being on a team help with your diagnosis?
Being on a team helps because you know that you aren't fighting alone. The Hudson Crusaders made their playoff push with the #2 Smallidge jersey hanging behind them on the bench. The Minnesota Magicians also had a night dedicated where my jersey hung behind the Magicians at their home in Richfield. Just about everyone I have ever played with or against have reached out to me, as well as the Eagan community. I think it is amazing how strong not just Eagan but also my hockey family is in their tremendous support.
How do you plan on overcoming cancer?
With the support I have from just about everyone and keeping positive thoughts it will be beaten. The next 10 or so years will be long with all of the doctor visits and tests but with an army like the one I have behind me it can be done.
What are some of your future hockey/career/school ambitions?
I am undecided right now what my future holds. I would like to play D3 hockey, I may play another year of juniors. I am undecided at this time.
I would just like to say thank you to my parents, grandparents, brother Lumpy, my friends, the Eagan community and hockey family in Eagan, the Hudson Crusaders and that organization, the Minnesota Magicians and their organization and the rest of the hockey community for all of the love and support
And a huge thank you to you and the Insports Foundation
Please support Nick with his fight with cancer and medical bills by purchasing a Team Smalls shirt and receive a free #PFS wristband.