Milestone, Sask., native Logan Pyett is taking his cancer comeback overseas.
The former Regina Pats captain and World Juniors champion has signed a one-year deal with KooKoo of Finland’s Liiga.
“He’s had a wonderful career that isn’t over yet,” Pyett’s mother Rhonda told Global News.
It’s a new chapter in a career that could have ended with two words: synovial sarcoma.
In 2015, the then 27-year-old was diagnosed with cancer after experiencing leg pain during an exhibition game with the American Hockey League’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
“I’d get some shooting pains in my leg for five or 10 minutes,” Pyett recalled. “The first exhibition game I played with Lehigh Valley my leg felt tight. It felt heavy. It just didn’t feel right. After some more pains they sent me in for an ultrasound and the tumour in my leg had caused a blood clot.”
The defenceman would be sidelined for two seasons as he underwent two major surgeries to battle the cancer.
“There were days that we could tell he was struggling, but he never complained- ever,” Rhonda Pyett said.
“He said ‘well, if someone in our family is going to have it, it might as well be me,'” Logan’s father Lyle added.
But throughout recovery, his eye was always on a return to professional hockey.
“Two years away from hockey, it’s not easy,” Pyett admitted. “There was a lot of unknowns during those two years off. I wasn’t sure how this leg would feel, if it would ever come back to feeling normal or if I’d get on the ice skating and it would be dragging on me. Every step along the way has been, I don’t want so say a relief, but exciting to know, OK, I can do this.”
In fall of 2018, Pyett’s return to the professional stage took the hockey world by storm.
He was honoured as ESPN’s best player in the world in early October.
After tallying one assist and eight penalty minutes in 10 games with Hershey, Pyett decided to look for new opportunity overseas.
“I could have given up and went on to try and pursue something else, but i’m lucky. I can play hockey, I can travel, and I don’t want to give that up,” Pyett said.
If there’s one thing to learn from from more than 500 pro games played in the United States, Russia, Japan, and now Finland, it’s this – you can never count Logan Pyett out.