Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gwilliam's season comes to an end

Daily News Sports Editor
Malcolm Gwilliam’s U.S. college hockey season is over.
Gwilliam, a 23-year-old product of Kamloops minor hockey, was hospitalized in Minneapolis on Nov. 16 when he took ill in the Michigan Tech Huskies’ locker room prior to a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
He has since been released from hospital and is scheduled to travel back to Houghton, Mich., the home of the Huskies, sometime today.
The nature of his illness hasn’t been disclosed.
“Malcolm will make a full recovery and will be able to play again in the future,” Michigan Tech head coach Jamie Russell, who is from Kamloops, told The Daily News in an email on Wednesday. “He is done for this season.
“Malcolm had a medical issue unrelated to any hockey injury, at the rink prior to our game. He went to the hospital and remained there when the team traveled back to Michigan.”
The Gophers went on to win the game, 3-0, one day after the teams had played to a 2-2 tie. Gwilliam had taken a regular shift in the Nov. 15 game.
Gwilliam, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior right-winger, couldn’t be reached for comment. His parents, Deborah and Terry, who live in Campbell River, were in Minneapolis to watch the two games.
Gwilliam was born in Campbell River but moved to Kamloops with his family in 1992. His parents have since moved back to Campbell River.
He played all of his minor hockey in Kamloops, finishing with the bantam AAA Jardine’s Blazers. He went on to play for the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles and Grande Prairie Storm before going to Michigan Tech.
“It was a scary situation and a huge blow to our team as Malcolm is our first-line (right winger) and plays on our top (power-play) unit and kills penalties,” Russell said. “We are all elated he is going to be OK.”
After the Nov. 16 game, a team spokesman told the Minneapolis StarTribune that Gwilliam’s medical problem was serious, but that it wasn’t life-threatening, nor was it hockey-related.
Gwilliam is in his fifth season at Michigan Tech and already had received NCAA clearance to play one more season. That came after his sophomore season was ended by injury before it even started.
He played in 32 games as a freshman (2004-05), sat out 2005-06, was one of five players to get in all 40 games in 2006-07 and played in 36 games last season.
Russell said that with this season-ending illness “we can appeal to get Malcolm a sixth year of eligibility due to ‘special circumstances.’ We have not discussed this option yet with Malcolm but it is a possibility.”
The Huskies, who play out of Houghton, Mich., are on the road at Bemidji State on Friday and Saturday nights. Michigan Tech has played eight of its first 12 games on the road, where it is 1-6-1. Overall, the Huskies are 2-9-1; they are 1-8-1 within the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Prior to two games against the visiting Minnesota State Mavericks last weekend, the Huskies put Gwilliam’s number (9) on their helmets.
Gwilliam, a graduate of Sa-Hali Secondary, had six points, including two goals, in nine games.
A business administration major whom Russell said is a “very good student,” Gwilliam could begin work on his MBA in the spring.

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