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TRYING TO SAVE MORE THAN PUCKS

By: Mike Peck

 Everyone likes a feel good story.  You know the kind.  The one where the person gets built up, then gets knocked down only to return to the top of the mountain.  Some people’s peaks and valleys are self inflicted; others are a result of misfortune. 

 Let us introduce you to Providence Bruins goalie Jordan Sigalet.  He’s of the latter. 

 OK, we don’t expect you to cheer for him out loud tonight if he plays (and he is expected to start in net for the Bruins against the IceHogs), but we will make you a fan of him anyway and know there will be a rooting interest on the inside!

 Sigalet is in his third season with the Providence Bruins.  When he was 23 years old and stopping pucks for Bowling Green University (NCAA), the New Westminster, BC native was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

 MS is an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system consisting of the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves.  And you thought it was tough to stop a 90-mile-per-hour slapshot with four players standing in front of you.

 Earlier this season, on Nov. 16 while guarding the Bruins net, Sigalet’s system shutdown ... in the middle of a game.   The goalie was capable of making kick saves one second then suddenly lost all function the next.

“It was a really scary time,” said Sigalet this morning after the Bruins morning skate at the MetroCentre.  “It had been four years since anything major had happened and it was the third period of a game.  I just collapsed.  Doctors aren’t sure what it was but they know it was related to the MS.”

 Sigalet didn’t let that incident hold him down.  After practically starting from scratch while regaining strength in his extremities, Sigalet not only aced his rehabilitation program, but has since returned to the ice.  Less than two months after being carried off the ice on a stretcher, Sigalet was back playing in the top minor league hockey league in the world striving to achieve his career dream of making it to the NHL.  He did make an appearance with Boston in 2005-06.

Said Sigalet, “I was in the hospital and not even able to walk for just over a month. It was about two months that I was off the ice.  Definitely a hard time but the support that I had from the whole organization here with the Bruins and obviously having my brother (Jonathan) here makes it a lot easier.”

 But now Sigalet has another dream, of course that’s finding a cure for MS.  

 MS affects over 400,000 Americans and 2.5 million people world wide.  Nearly
 200 people are diagnosed every week.

 So what is Sigalet doing about it?

 “When I first got to Providence a couple of years ago we started “Sigalet Saves for MS” just in Providence,” said Sigalet. “I thought that was a big step. It helps out a lot of people that have been diagnosed with MS with the money going to the MS Society in Rhode Island.

“This year we wanted to take it a step further and we sent out a letter to all 29 teams in the American Hockey League and I’m not sure how many (teams) have jumped on board yet, but I do know there has been a great response.“

He has become an ambassador for MS LifeLines and is helping spread awareness of the disease to provide hope and inspiration to others who are living with it.

 March is MS Awareness Month and Sigalet has helped organize an initiative with the AHL, EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc. to raise awareness and money for MS.

 For every save that an IceHogs goalie makes from tonight’s game through March 15, $20 will be donated to “Sigalet Saves for MS”.  There are seven games during that stretch for Rockford.

 All proceeds raised by the IceHogs will be donated to the local MS Chapter here in Rockford.

Fans can also participate in the program.  Information about the MS Society and donation envelopes are located at the IceHogs Fan Information Booth.

 So as Sigalet continues his drive to someday play in the NHL, you can help him achieve his new life goal of helping find a cure for MS.



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