Emile Chouinard providing inspiration months after cancer diagnosis

Emile Chouinard is no stranger to having to fight through adversity to continue chasing his NHL dreams.
Baie-Comeau Drakkar v Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
Baie-Comeau Drakkar v Blainville-Boisbriand Armada / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

During Flyers development camp, we've heard about the obvious names standing out. Jett Luchanko has eyes on him after the team's surprising pick of him last Friday. Denver Barkey is coming off a tremendous OHL season. Hunter McDonald has been a favorite of the organization as he looks to show off.

But there's another player who isn't a part of the organization that should be getting some headlines. Emile Chouinard is a defenseman for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the QMJHL. He was in his fourth and final season with the team when he was given devastating news partway through his season.

Chouinard was put through a test of adversity that no person ever wants to go through. At the end of January, it was announced that he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that develops in the lymph system. It's part of the immune system that helps fight off disease and infection.

At 20 years old, Chouinard was forced to step away from the game of hockey to first take care of himself. He would go through 20 radiation treatments over the next few months, completing his final one toward the end of March. And in inspiring fashion, Chouinard returned to Drakkar's lineup during their first-round playoff series against the Charlottetown Islanders.

And while Drakkar would fall to the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the QMJHL's Championship series, it was much more than that for Chouinard. He proved that he could return. For what he did, he was the co-recipient of the league's Paul-Dumont Trophy. It's awarded annually to what the league deems the "Personality of the Year." It can be won by anyone involved in the game, players and coaches alike.

Along with Chouinard, Jacob Newcombe took home the award as well. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma the summer before this season. He returned to play in January, providing a much-needed spark to the Cape Brenton Eagles.

Both players earned themselves invites to NHL development camps. While Newcombe went off to Utah, it was Chouinard who drew the interest of the Flyers.

The Flyers have seven contract spots available so it's not out of the question that a player from development camp could earn themselves one of the coveted spots. Chouinard is one of 14 players who were invited to this camp. So there is plenty of competition.

Even if Chouinard doesn't earn an contract, there is always a chance the team invites him to their main training camp. And even if that doesn't happen, Chouinard has already proven that he can fight through whatever adversity comes his way.