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Paul Kukla Kukla's Korner

Published on Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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Alex Stalock Battles Back From Myocarditis

from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times, 

As a 35-year-old goaltender at Blackhawks training camp, Alex Stalock feels roughly the same way he did as a 22-year-old goaltender at Sharks training camp in 2009.

He has no idea how this will pan out.

But the fact he’s at camp at all—on an NHL contract, penciled in as the Hawks’ backup to Petr Mrazek, competing every day to earn that role—is a small blessing in itself. The opportunity means a lot. After all, this is his first training camp since 2019.

“What I’ve learned in pro hockey is anything can change at any day,” Stalock said Monday. “There can be injuries. There can be sicknesses. Obviously, COVID now changes everything. You can never be complacent and say, ‘This is how it’s going to be,’ because I guarantee you that’s not how it’s going to be at the end of the year.”

Stalock has experienced a few of those days where everything changed. But the one in November 2020 during which he was diagnosed with myocarditis stands out above the rest.

Stalock was starting to prepare for the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season when he tested positive for COVID-19 during a routine entry into the Wild’s practice facility. Shortly after, an MRI revealed his heart muscle was inflamed. He needed to halt all physical activity or risk cardiac arrest.

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