Daily Sports Smile: Anaheim Ducks prospect attends camp three days after final cancer treatment

Richard Morin
USA TODAY Sports+

The Anaheim Ducks had reason to celebrate this week, and it wasn't just because of their free-agent signings.

Ducks prospect Will Francis arrived at the team's development camp Wednesday after spending the last 2 1/2 years undergoing chemotherapy treatment for leukemia. 

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Francis finished his final chemo treatment just three days before camp started.

With Francis in attendance, Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins addressed the prospects and paid tribute to the 20-year-old defenseman, who played college hockey at Minnesota-Duluth and was Anaheim's sixth-round pick in 2019.

"For 848 days," Eakins said, "he had to handle hard weather. 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. We talk about passion. Not only did this almost take his passion away, it almost took his life.

"So Will Francis, he's the hardest in this room."

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A video posted to the Ducks' Twitter account shows Francis ringing the bell at Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital in Minnesota, signifying Francis' completion of 2 1/2 years of treatment.

All the prospects, coaches and team staff in the room stood and gave Francis a long ovation.

Francis will likely make his professional debut with one of the Ducks' minor-league affiliates this season. The Ducks' development camp runs through Sunday.