A native of the historically hockey-crazed community of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Gene was 4 years of age when he first laced on a pair of skates. Despite his age, Gene established himself as a talented young athlete and only three years later, at the age of 7, the pint-sized goal-scorer retired to the friendly confines of the goal crease, quickly becoming a premier young puck-stopper.
In 1997, at age 17, Gene was chosen to play for the London Knights of the prestigious Ontario Hockey League. He soon gained recognition as one of the leagues most reliable net-minders and was named to the league's all-star team in 1998-99. Gene's spectacular play with the Knights earned him training camp invitations to the National Hockey League's Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets.
During his four-year tenure in London, Gene's puck-stopping heroics and contagious personality made him one of the franchise's all-time fan favourites.
Rather than pursuing a professional hockey career upon graduating from the Knights, Gene enrolled at the University of New Brunswick in 2000 and joined the school's celebrated UNB Varsity-Reds hockey team. His continued fine play earned him all-star selections in both 2001 and 2002.
Unfortunately, Gene's enjoyable university experience would be short lived. In the summer of 2003, after experiencing blurred vision, Gene was diagnosed with a large tumour on his brain stem. The first neurosurgery to remove the mass was performed in late September and the tumour was discovered to be malignant.
At the age of 24, Gene was told that he had cancer and that he was going to die.
After a heated exchange of words with his oncologist (the doctor who broke the news) , Gene began a very rigorous schedule of chemotherapy treatments that would last 6 months.
On July 9th, almost a year to the day he was initially diagnosed, Gene underwent a second surgery to remove the remains of the tumour from his brain. Upon successful completion of the surgery, Gene was warned against returning to hockey and was even told that he would not be physically capable.
And then, in early September, less than 2 months after his second brain surgery...
Contact Gene to hear the rest...it's worth it.