Gord Thibodeau could feel it.
The symptoms were back. All the signs were pointing again in that same direction that he’s become all too familiar with over the past two decades.
As a head coach in the Alberta Junior Hockey League for 22 years, Thibodeau has beaten many worthy opponents, but he’s in the midst of battling his most formidable opponent yet.
Cancer was back. Thibodeau is staring at another showdown with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — for a fourth time.
The Lloydminster Bobcats general manager and head coach was officially diagnosed in February.
“It’s been a constant battle. It’s almost like I’ve lived with this enemy beside me, and every five or 10 years I have to push him away. It never seems to fully cure,” said Thibodeau, who first battled the disease in 1989 as a standout defenceman for the Alberta Golden Bears.
“As a hockey coach, you are always pushing your players to never quit, and it’s ironic from a hockey standpoint.. I have to tip my hat to this cancer for sticking around. I almost have a begrudging respect for this disease for not quitting but I’m not giving up, either.”