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With chemotherapy in the rearview, Anchorage hockey product Evan Trupp takes on coaching role with Wolverines

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 10:23 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - For the first time in 13 years, Evan Trupp will enjoy a hockey season at home in Anchorage, Alaska after joining the Anchorage Wolverines junior hockey team coaching staff as an assistant.

The 33-year-old hockey player spent the past seven months going through chemotherapy at the Alaska Native Medical Center to treat his stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He hopes his road to recovery will end shortly after receiving his final chemotherapy treatment.

“It’s been a pretty big rollercoaster all the way through it,” Trupp said after his final treatment on Tuesday. “Starting from hearing the initial news and that shock, and trying to swallow that pill, to today, kind of like, the relief and emotions of leaving the hospital for hopefully the last time.”

Trupp was in Germany playing professional hockey in February when he noticed a lump on his neck. A few days later he showed a team trainer, and they took him to a doctor for blood tests. He was unable to play for three weeks as he waited to find out what it was.

“Our team at the time was making a playoff push and they were wondering why I wasn’t playing,” Trupp said. “And I felt fine.”

Even though Trupp felt good, he was battling stage two of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and returned home for treatment in March. At first, he was receiving chemotherapy for six hours every other week and towards the end, it ranged from three to four hours. Trupp said treatment zapped his energy and he often slept through it.

“You can look at it in a very negative way, but I’ve been trying to just stay very positive about it,” Trupp said. “I think it’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise. ... I haven’t been home this long, in a long time.”

The former South Anchorage High School and Service High School standout wasn’t away from the game long and began helping his former teammates coach youth teams in Anchorage. Then the phone rang, and the Anchorage Wolverines were looking for an assistant coach.

“If I enjoy coaching, I think that’s just going to be a new career switch for me,” Trupp said. “We’ll see how this year goes. I’m excited to be a part of the Wolverines.”

Trupp brings a wealth of experience to the Wolverines bench after a successful college career at the University of North Dakota, winning a Kelly Cup with the Alaska Aces in 2014 before playing, two seasons in the American Hockey League, and spent the past five seasons overseas.

“They (the Wolverines) went and YouTubed me a couple of clips and were making fun of me at practice the other day,” Trupp said with a laugh.

The addition of Trupp to the coaching staff came nine games into the season and a week before the team drops the puck on their home opener against the Springfield Junior Blues at Ben Boeke Ice Arena on Friday. It will be Trupp’s first game back at Boeke since high school.

“I was trying to tell them how electric the Ben Boeke can get in those high school games, and now to have a Junior team in there I’m excited to see, you know, what it’s going to be like,” Trupp said.

He hasn’t ruled out returning to the ice as a player but said it will depend on his recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In the meantime, he hopes to create awareness for Hodkin’s Lymphoma and see how he likes being a coach for the season. Trupp has been raising money for the Mario Lemieux Foundation to help fund cancer research and support families in challenging medical situations.

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