Hilltoppers Hockey Use Flaherty’s Cancer Battle as Motivation

The team said coach Flaherty has been at some of the practices while he finished cancer treatments.

DULUTH, Minn. – Sometimes, teams have a motivating factor for their season, and that hits home for the Duluth Marshall boys hockey team. The Hilltoppers suffered a tough loss to Mounds View on Saturday to open their season, but there was an even bigger win for the team. Earlier in the week, the Hilltoppers found out that long–time hockey coach Brendan Flaherty beat his battle with cancer.

Flaherty stepped down earlier this year after being diagnosed with throat cancer. Although he’s had his own battle to fight, the team said he’s been at practices and constantly motivating them, so getting the news right before the season started meant a lot.

“I think it’s huge for the kids to be able to see that he’s there and supporting them and knowing that he’s battled and fought through and is now cancer-free. It’s just a great motivator for our kids,” interim head coach Bill Owens said.

The Hilltoppers said that there is no immediate timetable for coach Flaherty to return to the coaching staff, but they hope to have him back on the bench soon.

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