Student-athlete Spiro Goulakos ’15 forced to leave hockey team for cancer treatments

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Spiro Goulakos ’15 is from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Colgate hockey head coach Don Vaughan revealed Tuesday that defenseman Spiro Goulakos ’15 has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer originating from white blood cells in the lymph nodes.

Goulakos has left school and the team to begin chemotherapy in his native Montreal.

“This news came as quite a shock to everyone,” Vaughan said. “Spiro is such an integral part of our team and adored by his teammates. This past week has been a very emotional time for our student-athletes.

“We ask as Spiro begins his treatments that people hold him and his family in their thoughts and prayers. He is a fierce competitor, and his teammates and coaches know he will bring that attitude to this fight.”

During his holiday break in December, Goulakos underwent a routine physical examination. As part of that exam, one of the lab tests performed by the doctor returned abnormal results. Additional tests revealed that Goulakos had a large area of swelling in his chest that was not affecting his breathing or his stamina.

More tests were performed the day before break ended, and Goulakos also underwent tests with Colgate team physician Dr. Merrill Miller upon his return to Hamilton. Those results showed a likely lymphoma in Goulakos’ chest.

Miller recommended more sophisticated tests back in Montreal, and Friday morning Goulakos and his family learned the results.

Miller and the doctors in Montreal agreed that since he was feeling well and his blood counts were normal, Goulakos could continue playing hockey while awaiting final plans for treatment. Goulakos played in games over the weekend against Brown and Yale, but is out for the rest of the season.

Goulakos is expected to undergo aggressive chemotherapy, given intravenously, over the next four to six months.

“He has excellent doctors and he should do well,” Miller said. “Our anticipation is he will recover and be back to full academics and athletics at Colgate this fall.”

Goulakos was having a terrific sophomore season, with 15 points on six goals and nine assists in 21 games played. He was a major part of the power play for the Raiders as the point man and leader of four rookies on the team’s top man-advantage unit that has scored 16 goals. Goulakos is second on the team with four power play goals.

Goulakos continued his great play in his final weekend of competition against No. 7/8-ranked Yale with a pair of assists. That was his sixth multiple-point game of the season.

“We are confident that there will be a positive outcome and we look forward to Spiro’s return to the team in the near future,” Vaughan said.