Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Quebec Remparts’ Kurt Etchegary faces heart procedure, no timeline for return to QMJHL

When Kurt Etchegary was passed over in the NHL draft last summer, it seemed odd but not wholly outside of plausible hockey reasons. The two-way centre with the Quebec Remparts, whom some rankings saw as a fourth or fifth-round pick, had been injured for nearly half of last season.

Now it has come to light that Ethegary, who turned 19 this week, has a a pericardial effusion around his heart and will need surgery on Thursday. What's noteworthy is the condition — an abnormal accumulation of fluid near the heart — was discovered before the draft. Subsequent treatments have failed to correct the issue, which has led to the decision to operate. It sounds like an issue that can be resolved with proper care, although when one hears about a heart-related problem and a QMJHL player in the wake of Jordan Boyd in August, it is a little scary.

Etchegary was born with a microcystic lymphangioma in his face. In a cruel twist of fate, it has been theorized that it has thwarted treatments for the effusion.

Here is Remparts athletic therapist Steve Bélanger, via Carl Tardif:

"As it comes from the heart, it can be alarming because there is a potential danger. When there is too much liquid, there is less space and the heart can get carried away ... we'll see day to day how his body will react. We do not want to say if it will be in a month or two, it is important first to solve the problem." (Le Soleil)

Etchegary attended a Detroit Red Wings development camp last summer after posting nine goals and 25 points over 31 games in his injury-shortened season. He had started well this fall with five goals and nine points in 13 games for Quebec. Remparts coach-GM Philippe Boucher says the St. John's, N.L., native's "health is more important than whether he can help us." Here's hoping there is happy ending.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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