“It’s been a crazy roller coaster, with a lot of adversity along the way.”

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A bad fall from the roof of the family home went from a near-tragedy to a remarkable hockey run for Hudson Malinoski.

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Flashback to November 2017:

Malinoski, then a thrill-seeking teenager, was shoveling snow off the roof to do a gnarly snowboard jump for himself and his friend, Cole Barry.

Malinoski slipped and fell hard from a 10-12 foot perch.

He was taken to the emergency room of a Saskatoon hospital. The initial diagnosis was a concussion, but it turned out to be much more.

Malinoski was left with a torn vertebral artery, located in his neck and supplying blood to the brain.

He wasn’t sure if he would ever play hockey again.

If left untreated, this condition could cause a stroke or aneurysm.

“So that’s where the whole journey started, right there,” recalls Malinoski, a graduate captain of the Saskatoon Blazers AAA under-18 team who is about to embark on a career as a Junior A hockey with Centennial Cup national champion Brooks Bandits. season.

Malinoski is also committed to a hockey scholarship at Providence College in Rhode Island, but, in 2017, his hockey dreams seemed in serious jeopardy.


Malinoski underwent what was then a groundbreaking new surgery, which would ultimately breathe new life into his life and hockey career.

“My family was there to support me but it was super scary,” he admits.

“The operation they performed on me had never been performed before. It allowed me to play hockey again, so I was happy that they were able to do that. Being in the hospital I wondered if I would ever play hockey again, but the doctors were super good and they made me feel like I could get back to the sport I love.

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It was an emotional rollercoaster before this surgery, though.

Hudson’s mother, Tanya, remembers the first night the family took Hudson to the hospital.

“Going to the ER that night, they said he had a concussion and sent us away, also not knowing he had fallen off the roof,” Tanya recalled. “From there, it got progressively worse every day. Still throwing up, unable to move his neck, not eating, dizzy and really sick. As a parent you know something was wrong so we took him twice in the week and they sent us home both times because they wouldn’t do a CT scan because the radiation is not good for children. ”

Before the week was over, Tanya messaged a neurologist friend who asked Hudson the next day to see a neurosurgeon, Dr. Lissa Peeling, during her lunch break.

While at Royal University Hospital, Tanya’s husband, Randy, happened to run into Dr. Mike Kelly – “one of the best neurosurgeons in the country”, Tanya points out – at Starbucks having coffee.

Turns out “Randy had sold him a few boats.”

Randy explained why they were at RUH and told Kelly about Hudson’s symptoms.

The ball quickly rolled. Hudson would soon have an MRI, CT scan and angiogram.

The family was told that Hudson needed surgery on the artery because it was only “a matter of time before he caresses himself,” Tanya explained.

This type of surgery also likely meant that Hudson would no longer be able to play contact sports and would be on blood thinners for the rest of his life.

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“Dr. Kelly knew how much hockey and sports meant to Hudson and was on the phone all night before the operation, with his mentor in New York, trying to find another operation,” Tanya noted.

In the end, Dr. Kelly decided to perform an operation that “had not been performed on a child”. He squeezed the artery closed and redirected blood flow so that Hudson had only one vertebral artery.

“It was a scary three hour operation with a lot of important doctors involved,” Tanya recalls, adding that the operation went well but they had to wait months to make sure everything healed and that the blood was flowing properly.

Hudson’s hockey was over for the year, an abbreviated season with the Saskatoon Maniacs after a “really good” performance a few weeks earlier at the Graham Tuer tournament in Regina.

“I think that first year of bantam really set me back because I basically missed a full year of hockey,” admits Hudson. “Seven months I was out. It set me back a year, so I had to try even harder to come back.

Hudson had to take it easy. He couldn’t even get his heart rate up.

“They told us to invest in a gaming system,” Tanya joked.

Hudson was cleared to return to sport in late spring. He still has annual MRIs to check things out. He played his second year of bantam hockey with the Stallions. He was motivated.

“Being away and thinking I could never play, but being able to come back, I kept working even harder,” he said.

Undersized at the time and without a team for the playoffs, Malinoski was not selected in the WHL draft, but was drafted in the first round, fourth overall, by the Notre Dame Hounds in the draft of the SJHL.

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He played for the Saskatoon Midget AA River Kings at the age of 15 when he was still small at 5-foot-5 and 120 pounds. He made the AAA Blazers the following year, but the COVID pandemic hit and he only played four games.

Not being drafted into the WHL also gave him extra motivation.


Malinoski has since grown into a 6-foot-1 executive.

He finished the 2021-22 Saskatchewan Men’s AAA Hockey League season with 31 goals and 29 assists for 60 points in 43 games, finishing second on the team in scoring behind Roger McQueen.

“I decided to stay back for my third year as a midget (under 18) to try to regain my confidence, after playing on a lower line the other years,” says Malinoski, who turned 18 last month. last.

In doing so, he was made the team’s captain.

“I was super honored and super proud to be the captain of my hometown team,” he says. “We had an early exit in the playoffs, but I thought we had a great team and I had a great year.”

Malinoski, along with Saskatoon’s Luke Marshall, have committed to play for Brooks, who already has Saskatoon product and former Boston Blazer defenseman Buckberger on their roster.

“I know Boston very well – he’s my good friend,” said Malinoski, who attended the Bandits’ spring camp. “He kind of filled me in on Brooks. He loved that year. He just said, What a great organization. “

Malinoski chose Brooks over Wilcox.

“I thought maybe if I got drafted by Humboldt, both of my grandparents would live there and I might play there, I’d live with them, but I think with Notre Dame I don’t didn’t really want to go so that actually worked in my favor. I looked at the AJHL’s journey and Brooks is just a great organization.

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Although Malinoski had been registered by both Moose Jaw and Saskatoon for a time, his path to the WHL remained uncertain. He wasn’t sure where he belonged.

“That’s where,” he says, “what my college journey started after that.”

He spoke to a few NCAA Division 1 schools. St Cloud, Minnesota, and Providence, RI, were the top two.

“I took a (recruiting) trip to St. Cloud before Providence and was actually settled in St. Cloud until Providence asked me to come,” Malinoski noted. “I went to see Providence and it was just an unreal experience and I really didn’t go back.”

Malinoski is committed to playing for Providence during the 2023-24 season.

“I think I’m just grateful to play hockey,” he says. “In 2017, I never thought I would be where I am now. So I’m very grateful for that.

“It’s been a crazy roller coaster,” adds Tanya, “with a lot of adversity along the way.”


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