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Ducks Celebrate End of Prospect Will Francis’s  Leukemia Treatments

Ducks prospect Will Francis attended the team’s development camp this week after completing his last chemotherapy treatment in his two-and-a-half-years with leukemia.

Ahead of Thursday’s camp, which happened to be three days after Francis rang the bell at Minneapolis’ Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital to signal the end of his treatment, coach Dallas Eakins and the team gave a standing ovation to their teammate.

“For 848 days ... he had to handle hard better,” Eakins said in his speech to the team. "He had to be disciplined, he had to fight. So, when we think about having a hard day, Will Francis knows what a hard day is. When we talk about passion, not only did it almost take his passion away, it almost took his life. Will Francis, he’s the hardest in this room.”

The 22-year-old was selected in the 2019 NHL draft by the Ducks. That same year, he played his second season on the USHL’s Cedar Rapids Rough Riders. He had plans to play at the University of Minnesota Duluth, but he was sidelined with a torn meniscus.

Francis then was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2020. Because of his treatment, the defenseman had to take a break from hockey. However, he was able to play in five games for UMD last season.

Now that his chemo treatment is over, Francis can officially play in the NHL. He will continue to prepare this offseason for his potential professional debut on the ice next season.

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