Penguins’ Phil Kessel honored by cancer prevention program |
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Jonathan Bombulie
The Penguins’ Phil Kessel cranks up a shot that beats Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark in the first period Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena.

Phil Kessel, as the saying goes, is a Stanley Cup champion.

He’s also a cancer survivor, and he was recognized for his efforts in overcoming and helping to stamp out the disease Thursday in Washington, D.C.

The Penguins winger received the Excellence in Cancer Awareness award from the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program in a ceremony at the Library of Congress. He was introduced by his sister, Olympic gold medalist Amanda Kessel.

Kessel had surgery for testicular cancer while he played for the Boston Bruins in 2006. Recently, he was part of a publicity campaign urging people to schedule regular doctor visits to assist in early detection.

In a statement, Kessel said he was grateful to receive the award with his sister by his side.

“Preventing cancer will always be a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” Kessel said.

Kessel, who scored two goals in a 5-1 exhibition win over Buffalo on Wednesday night, was excused from Thursday’s Penguins practice. He is expected to rejoin the team Friday.

“I think it’s a testament to his character and his care for people like him who have gone through that particular challenge,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “I think it says a lot about who he is as a person and what he represents.”

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Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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