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Preseason debut extra special for Canadiens' Bozon

by Arpon Basu / NHL.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Playing your first NHL preseason game is a special milestone for any hockey player. It will be extra special for Tim Bozon.

Bozon will be in the Montreal Canadiens lineup Friday when they take on the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City, five months after a bout with a rare form of meningitis put his life at risk.

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"With what happened five months ago, I'm really excited," Bozon said. "It's an honor, I'm proud. I'm thinking of all my family right now that helped me to realize my dream to play one game in a Habs jersey. So I'm really excited for tonight's game."

Bozon was relaxing at his hotel while the Canadiens were beating the Avalanche 3-2 in overtime of a preseason game at Bell Centre on Thursday night, and he got a text message telling him he would play Friday at around 11 p.m.

"It was tough to sleep," Bozon said. "I didn't want to think too much, not put too much pressure on myself. It's all a bonus for me right now; I just want to enjoy it. But for sure, I had a tough time to sleep."

Bozon was hospitalized in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in March and placed in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with Neisseria meningitidis. He was taken out of the coma a little more than two weeks later and released from the hospital March 28, beginning a long, difficult journey back to full health with the goal being to participate in this training camp.

Now he will be reaching another goal in Quebec City on Friday night. But Bozon made sure to mention it wasn't just him reaching that goal, but his parents as well.

"It's for them that I'm fighting," he said. "My mom and my dad, they were at the hospital five months ago and they saw me in the bed. Now they're really proud of me."

Bozon has not been a regular member of the primary group of Canadiens players over the past few days of training camp, skating with players who will most likely be heading to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. After going through Canadiens rookie camp earlier this month as well as the main camp, Bozon admitted he is starting to experience some fatigue.

"I felt a little bit tired some days," he said. "I worked so hard the last five months and I burned a lot of energy to catch up, so it's normal that my body's getting tired. But I feel good and I think I've had a good camp."

Camp is about to get much better for Bozon.

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