Marco Scandella spoke Tuesday of the time he spent away from the Minnesota Wild to be with his ailing father.
"My dad doesn't have much time left, so I'm really happy that the organization let me go back home to see him and say goodbye to him," the defenseman told the Wild website after the morning skate prior to playing at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I owe it to him to play my best hockey, and that's what I'm going to do when I come out every shift. I just have to keep growing as a player and growing as a person."
Scandella scored Saturday in his first game back after two away, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. His father, Francesco, has prostate cancer, according to the Star-Tribune.
"It's a tough situation, but I just have to keep playing hard," the 25-year-old said. "… I definitely scored that goal for him."
Scandella said he has no immediate plans to take time off again.
"I'm here with the team to stay. My dad's wishes will be met," the Montreal native told the newspaper. "It was a tough week, and just seeing the guys, we have a great group of guys in here and really supportive, and it was just great to get back with everybody."
The Wild faced a similar situation last season when Zach Parise 's father, J.P. Parise, and Ryan Suter 's father, Bob Suter, each passed away.
Scandella has been actively involved with Hockey Fights Cancer.
"It's something that affects a lot of people," he said. "It's not something that's easy to deal with. And I think just talking about it maybe helps a little bit."