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Holan Makes an Emotional Return

Mighty Ducks: Still recovering from leukemia, he gets a standing ovation.

November 09, 1996|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Milos Holan walked to center ice Friday, a puck in his hand, cheers ringing in his ears.

A tremendous show of support from family, friends, teammates and people he has never met carried him through a seven-month hospital stay after he underwent a bone marrow transplant Feb. 21.

And it continued during Holan's first visit to the Pond since the transplant. Holan received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 17,174 when he was introduced before the Ducks played the Kings.

"It's a nice feeling to know somebody cares about you and wants to see you again," said Holan, who left the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte for good on Sept. 20.

"When I came to the hospital, I read a lot of material about leukemia, but when I saw people dying all around me, that's what scared me the most. Without my wife [Irena], I couldn't do it. She supported me 24 hours a day when my spirit was down. I got lots of greeting cards and letters from the whole world every day."

Holan, a 25-year-old defenseman from the Czech Republic, said he had hoped to attend opening night at the Pond on Oct. 16, but was still too weak to make the trip.

At this stage, he isn't thinking of returning to play for the Ducks. He's simply happy to be out of the hospital at last.

Holan lost 60 pounds during his hospital stay and had several setbacks because of infections and complications from the transplant. Holan had a stomach disorder, numbness in his legs and hands, and his gall bladder removed. He attends physical therapy sessions three times a week to improve his strength.

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