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Engineers Hope for Best with MacDonald

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, October 20, 2005

TROY - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey players were disappointed earlier this week when they learned popular teammate and leading scorer Kirk MacDonald wouldn't be able to play this season because of testicular cancer.

While they'd prepared themselves for the possibility that MacDonald would have to sit out the year, the final word was tough to take.

"Obviously, the team supports his decision," said senior defenseman Brad Farynuk, like MacDonald an RPI tri-captain and a British Columbia native.

"It comes down to what your priorities are," Farynuk said. "First off is your health. I think with this time line, and with his developing as a player with regard to his professional career after college, it'll probably be better for him to take this year off."

But the Engineers had planned to do their best in their first six ECAC Hockey League games, then be a better team with MacDonald during the final 16.

"Yeah, it's tough to lose your leading scorer," Farynuk said.

The timeline of MacDonald returning this season, as things turned out, would not have worked.

"He's not going to be able to lift a weight for almost three months," head coach Dan Fridgen said. "And the guys who are here are already three months ahead of him and it's an uphill battle. I think he should just take his time and not put a timetable on it and come in on an even level as far as the rest of the players are concerned."

"As time progressed and you looked at the situation and the healing process that had to take place," Fridgen said, "I'm not surprised."

Tri-captain Kevin Croxton said the team just "hopes (MacDonald) gets healthy and gets back to the form he had last year."

Senior defenseman Keith MCWilliams said when MacDonald returns to classes next semester (January), the team "will be glad to have him back. He's our friend, we understand his decision and wish him the best."