Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oren Koules Is Awesome

Long time no post, eh? ;) On Sunday I spent the day watching movies with my husband, and yesterday it felt like I didn't even get a minute to breathe because we're working hard to meet deadlines this week to get ready for shutdown next week. (I'm really sorry about that - I wouldn't have skipped posting on Sunday if I'd known how crazy Monday was going to be.) Anyhoo, I've been thinking about what the Tampa Bay Lightning did on Saturday at the draft and thought it was cool enough to mention here on The Show.

In the seventh round, the Lightning selected 18 year old defenseman from the University of Denver named David Carle, who was attending the college on a hockey scholarship and is the younger brother of Matt Carle of the San Jose Sharks. Big whoop, right? Wrong. It turns out that during the pre-draft physical examinations, doctors found out that Carle has a potentially fatal heart condition (from College Hockey News):
Denver recruit David Carle has retired from competitive hockey after doctors discovered a heart abnormality. The condition, known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — or thickening of the heart — can cause sudden cardiac death if there is too much exertion.


Carle got an EKG at the NHL's scouting combine, which is where an abnormality was first detected. He went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for more tests.

Carle said a nurse was the first to inform him that the news wasn't good. "...I just lost it and had a good cry. ...The doctor came in, and I was pretty shell-shocked at first. After a few hours passed, you can step back and evaluate it, and move forward.

"I'm really quite fortunate they were able to find it. I've still got a long life ahead of me. I have a lot to look forward to and a lot of opportunities ahead of me."
Because of the severity of the disease, he withdrew his name for consideration once the diagnosis was confirmed. But that's when this happened (from The Denver Post):
On Saturday, however, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected Carle in the seventh round (203rd overall).

Incoming Lightning owner Oren Koules pushed for the team to select Carle.

"The kid worked his whole life to be drafted in the NHL, and I didn't see a reason he shouldn't be," Koules said on the club's website.
It's only symbolic, since even slight physical exertion could lead to sudden cardiac death. But what a gesture! This kid's entire life changed through no fault of his own, and Koules used the draft to pay tribute to Carle's lifetime of commitment to the game of hockey. Carle still plans to attend the University of Denver, and Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky told Carle that, despite the fact that he now cannot play on the team, his scholarship would be honored.

It's a bittersweet ending to a career that never had a chance to get started.

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