MOVEMBER SPECIAL BARK AND COCK EDITION: SPORTS DIRECTOR JOSH BERLO JOINS HOCKEY GOALKEEPER ZACH STEJSKAL


This month’s UMD Bulldogs Bark and The Bite, presented by Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, is a special feature on the second-year UMD men’s hockey goaltender, Zach Stejskal. UMD Bulldog Sporting Director Josh berlo sat down with Zach to discuss the Bulldogs and his current status ahead of this weekend’s series against Alaska Fairbanks. Zach talks about his health and can’t wait to return to the ice later this year.

JOSH: Zach, I think most Bulldog Country people know that you haven’t been between the pipes since Ice Breaker weekend in October. As we discussed last week you would like to share something and as such we are making this special edition of Bark and the Bite what do you want Bulldog Country to know?
ZACH: In October, after noticing that something was wrong, I went to the doctor and subsequently diagnosed with testicular cancer. I have since had surgery and am currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. I’m fine and I’m feeling pretty good. It was certainly an unexpected and quite scary experience, but, with a lot of support, I took the fight head-on and am doing well. I want everyone to know that I PLAN TO PLAY hockey this season.

JOSH: It’s good that you’re hooked in there Zach. As the wife of a 12 year old cancer survivor who was diagnosed at 29, although with a different gender, I can understand some of the challenges you face. As I shared with you the other day, there are many great survivor stories out there, but the journey is tough. How did you deal with the stress of diagnosis and treatment?
ZACH: I received a ton of support, from Dr Suz Hoppe who oversees Bulldog Hockey’s sports medicine to my great teammates, coaches and all the staff on the hockey team to Dr Jeff Engersjerd from Essentia Health to my amazing family and girlfriend. It was tough, but I did it step by step, stayed positive and focused on my health, taking care of my studies and staying in shape.

JOSH: What made you want to speak publicly about going through cancer as a young man and Division I hockey student-athlete?
ZACH: I want to encourage people, especially men, to go to the doctor, have their regular checkups, and not ignore something that is wrong with them. It helped me to start early. This makes health problems more manageable and gives you more treatment options. Also, this is Movember, a time of year when we in hockey try to draw attention to men’s health issues and this was an opportunity to personally shed some additional light on these topics. . By doing a little, I try to do good for my situation.

JOSH: It’s incredibly impressive and mature Zach. How can people support Movember and men’s health awareness, research and treatment?
ZACH: First of all, take care of your own health and encourage the men in your life to pay attention to their health. Support Movember by raising awareness or donating to my teammate and fellow goaltender’s Movember fundraising effort.

JOSH: Well, Zach, just know that we’re incredibly proud of you and the way you navigate this area. Most importantly, we are delighted that your treatment has been successful so far and that you are doing well. I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of many when I say we can’t wait to see you back on the ice. In closing, do you have any advice for those facing this battle?
ZACH: Again, take it step by step, accept the support you receive, monitor your sanity as well, and get help if you need it. Stay positive and take on the challenge, no matter what your age, what type of cancer you have, or what else you have in your life, focus on what you can control and what to fight back.

The Bulldogs would like to thank Zach for sharing his story and we encourage all Country Bulldogs who wish to show their support for Zach to send cards to the following address or show their support on social media or via email.

For those who wish to support Zach, you can log in in the following ways:
Email: [email protected]
Social networks: @Zstejskal (Twitter) | @zach_stejskal (Instagram)
Mail: Zach Stejskal
Bulldog athletics
1216 Ordean Ct., 170 SpHc
Duluth, MN 55812

Right now, Zach is focused on his health, his education and his return to hockey in the second half of this season. As such, it is only available for media interviews at a later date. He appreciates everyone’s support and understanding. Go dogs!


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