Eddie Olczyk remembers the exact time: 7:07 p.m. He was lying in bed, recovering from surgery. Doctors had just removed 14 inches of his colon and a tumor the size of a fist. The house phone started ringing and the incoming number flashed on his television screen.
"It was Northwestern Hospital," Olczyk recalled. "Look, with my experience of being a hockey player and being a dad, you know any phone call at past 7 o'clock from the hospital, it's not a good call."
My chest started to feel tight. Out of nowhere, my heart was really thudding. I thought it might be anxiety, but that usually subsides. This didn’t. I turned to my teammate Brendan Taylor. “My ticker’s f----d,” I told him. “My ticker’s f----d.”
I walked off to the changing rooms. My heart was now going what felt a million miles an hour. I could actually see my chest moving, my skin expanding and contracting, fit to burst. It looked so unnatural. It made me feel sick to see it.