Mounds View defenseman in fight with leukemia

By Peter Knutson
Let’s Play Hockey

Josh Lavalle just finished his junior year at Mounds View High School where he was a two-sport athlete in hockey and baseball. He may seem like your average high school student, but that would be completely untrue.

Josh was an all-conference defenseman who contributed heavily to the success of the team last year. He lettered for his second time and was elected team captain in the upcoming year. After the season ended, he participated in the High Performance 18 select program. He looks to be one of the top defenseman in the conference next year.

While his accomplishments on the ice are impressive, his attitude is what makes him stand out.

“Josh is one of the most down to earth, awesome kids,” said Rick Thomas, head coach of the Mustang hockey team. “He is a great leader on and off the ice and is one of the best kids I have ever coached. Whatever I asked of him, he does it. Josh is one of those kids who you instantly fall in love with when you meet him. He goes out of his way to put others before himself.”

After hockey one day, Josh noticed he was more fatigued than normal and that his glands were swollen. When he went in for a physical last Friday, he asked the doctor to take a look at his glands. After a few blood samples and tests, Josh was diagnosed with acute leukemia. He was admitted to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital where they conducted more tests to find out more about his diagnosis.

“The support that has already been shown in the last few days is incredible,” Thomas said. “It truly is a reflection of who Josh is as a person. There are constantly friends and family by his side. It really shows how strong his friendships are and how much he means to those around him.”

Although not much is known about his diagnosis yet, Josh remains hopeful that he will be able to make a full recovery and be able to strap on the skates next season.

“The first thing he said to me when I went to visit him at the hospital was, ‘What’s gonna happen with hockey?’ That says it all,” Thomas said. “The kid is just got diagnosed with leukemia and he is still thinking of others on the team not wanting to let them down.”

Josh will begin his chemotherapy treatment in the next couple weeks and will spend most of the summer recovering. The extent of the leukemia is still unknown, but Josh is a strong kid. He is already set on playing hockey next year.

“Josh is a fighter,” Thomas said. “He will be back and he will play after high school.”

A golf benefit for Josh is set for August 4 at Chomonix Golf Course in Lino Lakes, benefiting the Josh Lavalle Leukemia Fund. For further questions, contact Rick Thomas at 763-267-952.