Hamilton (WSYR-TV) - The 2012-13 season hasn’t been the kind the Colgate men’s hockey team expected.
The Raiders are wrapping up the regular season this weekend, but they will likely be missing a key member of the team – Spiro Goulakos.
On the surface, Goulakos is the picture of health: a big, strong hockey player at the elite collegiate level.
But things changed a few weeks ago when Goulakos was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
"We called a meeting on a Sunday and he kind of broke the news to our whole team. We don't typically have meetings on Sunday so we knew something was up. That was a pretty tough meeting, everyone in the room was crying,” said senior defenseman and co-captain Jeremy Price.
Doctors told Goulakos he would need four to six months of chemotherapy. Suddenly, winning hockey games faded into the background as the man’s real life battle against cancer started up.
Goulakos has been on and off the ice since his diagnosis.
He was able to find a place in the lineup last weekend for the final home games, which was special both for Goulakos and the team.
Managing to get on the ice might have been enough, but Goulakos provided a highlight moment in the team’s win over Union.
"We have a good game against Union, he scores the game winning goal, gets tremendous publicity and then you realize you're in this really special story of a kid who's fighting through a really tough thing,” said assistant coach Brad Dexter.
The Raiders final games are at Yale and at Brown. Goulakos will be going through his third round of chemo at the same time at home in Montreal.
"When you're involved with it as we are as a team you don't realize the impact it can have. I think anything that can bring more awareness to these situations, increased funding, any little thing we can do. If you're looking for a silver lining out of this it's that,” Dexter said.
"He wants us to move forward and keep being successful, obviously keep him in our minds but make sure we have team success and not worry about him as much. For him, to put the team first going through something like this is pretty touching to me and a lot of the guys,” Price said.
The team has found a way to make sure Goulakos is always with them one way or another as he tries to beat his toughest opponent – they’ve placed stickers on their helmets with his initials and jersey number “SG6.”
Doctors say Goulakos should return to school full time in the fall. They are optimistic regarding his recovery because they were able to identify and diagnose the cancer early in its advancement.