Kessel undergoes surgery for cancer in Boston

Kessel on medical leave

Mark Remme

Former Gophers center Phil Kessel was hospitalized yesterday after reportedly being diagnosed with testicular cancer, according to Boston television station WBZ’s report last night.

Kessel, the fifth overall pick by the Boston Bruins in last summer’s NHL Entry Draft, was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital Monday, according to the Boston Herald.

Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, told ESPN.com that Kessel underwent cancer surgery Monday morning, but did not verify the type of cancer.

The news startled Kessel’s former teammates, like Gophers sophomore center Blake Wheeler, who played last season as Kessel’s teammate at Minnesota.

“Obviously it’s tough on us as a team,” Wheeler said. “We’re thinking and praying for him, and we’re hoping he recovers well.”

Wheeler said during the time he knew Kessel, he had been healthy, which makes the diagnosis that much more abrupt.

Kessel played last season for Minnesota and earned Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Year honors by tallying 18 goals and 33 assists in 39 games.

In his rookie season with the Bruins, Kessel contributed five goals and four assists in 27 games, but has just one point in the past 11 contests.