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Short Shifts

Cancer survivor inspires Canadiens, reads starting lineup

Josh Barrette, 18, fires up team ahead of game against Rangers

by Pat Pickens @Pat_Pickens / Staff Writer

Josh Barrette got to live out a dream of his Saturday.

The 18-year-old from Montreal, who is in remission after getting a clean bill of health following a battle with Burkitt lymphoma over the summer, fired up the Montreal Canadiens by announcing their starting lineup before their game against the New York Rangers

Barrette is a hockey player who had set a goal to play Triple A junior this season. But doctors found a tumor in his stomach in June. He had surgery June 11 and went through two 21-day cycles of chemotherapy. 

"I didn't see [cancer as] a big mountain," Barrette said. "I just kept going day by day, step by step, and that was my mentality."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: What a moment. 👏Josh, an 18-year-old fan diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, announced the starting lineup in epic fashion to the Habs on #HockeyFightsCancer night.#GoHabsGo | @CHCFondation

He finished chemotherapy July 24, and his body even warded off chickenpox while he was battling cancer. Doctors told him he was free of the disease Aug. 15.

Barrette hasn't been able to play hockey because of his illness but being around the Canadiens made him feel at ease.

"I couldn't believe it," Barrette said. "I look up to those guys like Brendan Gallagher, he's my type of player. … When I entered the room, I wasn't stressed I just got in my element right away."

Barrette, who attended the game with his dad Daniel, mom Kaeiades Jardines, sister Jodie and brother Jessie, fired up the Canadiens with an impromptu rhythmic clap that each player joined in, then excitedly announced each player's name. 

"I didn't prepare anything," Barrette said. "If I prepared something, I'm going to maybe mess it up." 

The Canadiens scored three first-period goals but would eventually lose in overtime.

"They got the comeback at the end of the second, and everybody was saying to me 'You should go down in the room again,'" Barrette said. "It's ok. It was an amazing night."

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