Former Minnesota Duluth defenseman and current Minnesota Wild assistant general manager Tom Kurvers is battling lung cancer, according to a report by Michael Russo of The Athletic.
According to the lengthy feature published Friday evening, the first of five Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners for the Bulldogs was diagnosed late last month with a type of non-small cell lung cancer - adenocarcinoma - after a nodule was discovered in his right lung. The cancer has spread into the lymph nodes in the sternum and for now is inoperable, according to the report.
Kurvers, 56, played four seasons at UMD, from 1980-84, and to this day still holds school records for career goals (43) and points (192) by a defenseman. He won the Hobey Baker in 1984 as a senior after captaining the Bulldogs to the NCAA championship game and the program's first WCHA regular-season and postseason titles. Kurvers also was named an All-American and the WCHA most valuable player as a senior.
The 1991 UMD Athletic Hall of Famer went on to play 11 seasons in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens - who selected the Minneapolis native in the seventh round of the 1981 NHL Draft - Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders and Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1986.
Hired seven months ago by Paul Fenton to be the new Wild general manager's top assistant, Kurvers had previously spent 10 years in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization as an assistant general manager and senior advisor to the general manager. His NHL scouting career began with the Phoenix Coyotes.
According to The Athletic, Kurvers informed Fenton and the Wild of the diagnosis on Jan. 31 after making sure his entire family - including his father, Jim - knew. Kurvers has four children, including two with his second wife, Heather. His mother, Julie, died from cancer a year ago.
Kurvers told The Athletic this week he had been approved for a medication called Tagrisso, which is a pill used to treat his type of lung cancer. It's a more aggressive cancer-killer with less side effects than chemotherapy, Kurvers said.
"The doctors are really reluctant to give a prognosis," Kurvers told The Athletic. "They're saying it's Stage 3, but I got this very hopeful news now and they say I should start feeling better in about a week. The idea with this drug is that it goes in and targets the cancer cells and bombs them out. The results have been great. It's not 100 percent. Chances are it doesn't work at all, but it's way up there that they can knock out a bunch of this."
In addition to serving as the Wild's assistant GM, he doubles as the general manager of the team's American Hockey League franchise, the Iowa Wild. According to The Athletic, Kurvers will step back from both roles while undergoing treatment.