Mathias Sibilleau is honoured to be one of three Central Plains Capitals invited to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's prospect camp.
While Sibilleau won't be able to compete this weekend as he is rehabbing from a blood clot, he is still very encouraged by the recognition.
"I got the email. I was really happy to be selected. I wish I could be participating in it, but I think it'll be a great opportunity to talk to some guys there and have a great weekend," Sibilleau explains. "I'm planning to attend the presentation they're putting on and just see what's happening. It should be good."
Saint François Xavier product was named an assistant captain for the Capitals in the 2022-23 campaign.
He scored 17 goals and dished out six assists in 30 games. Sibilleau added another eight points in six playoff games, and did so while suffering through multiple blood clots.
"Toward the end of the year, I wanted to play through my injury because it was the playoffs. It was difficult, especially since I had a bit of a misdiagnosis. So, I thought I'd be able to play through it, but it definitely wasn't the greatest time."
Back in January, Sibilleau was hit in the calf by a puck and had a blood clot develop where the bruising was. He was still able to play through this, but when the blood clots formed in other parts of his body, the situation became much more severe.
"Originally, I just had a pain in my lung. So, I just got a routine check-up, and they diagnosed it as pneumonia. It was just more difficult to breathe, but it wasn't (supposed to) impacting my health," says Sibilleau. "It was up to me on how hard I went or if I felt like I could play, or not. So, I thought, 'It's the playoffs. You have to push through these things sometimes.'"
It turned out that Sibilleau was misinformed, and another blood clot had formed in his lungs. The Capitals' forward had no idea this was the situation until he ended up in the hospital.
At this point, Sibilleau is well on his way to recovery.
"I'm on medication, blood thinners. It basically, helps break the clot down, and right now, it's out of the lung and only in the calf, where the original shot was taken place. Mainly, the problem with getting back to full capacity is just the contact. You have to be careful. If any part of your body is injured, if you're cut, or a major hit is taken, that could cause some problems with blood being thinned because it can't transport as fast."
Even a minor head injury could be a very significant risk for Sibilleau as there is a chance the brain wouldn't be able to tell the body to stop bleeding. This has been a very challenging few months for the 15-year-old, but he's found ways to keep himself motivated through the toughest times.
"The main thing is keeping active at home and doing a lot of training sessions," Sibilleau continues. "I've been lucky enough to have some ice times. Getting back on the ice and talking with other guys at the rink has helped keep me motivated. I know that I'm getting back to the place I originally was, and that makes me train harder and try to get to that state."
He believes it won't be too long before he is off his medication and plans to be ready for training camps in the fall.
"I'm definitely shooting to be ready for 2023 tryouts. Hopefully, I'll be back in full capacity coming up soon here. It'd be great to be able to train harder and get ready for the physical part of the game. It's definitely my goal to be on the ice and ready for the upcoming year."