As the NHL is scheduled to resume it's season later this week after a four month pause from COVID-19. Former Wisconsin standout Luke Kunin in in the hunt for a Stanley Cup with the Minnesota Wild, and he's playing with type-1 diabetes. That almost prevented him from playing in the restart.
Kunin's time in Madison was brief, but effective. He played two seasons for the Badgers and tallied 41 goals and 70 points in 69 games. He was drafted by the Wild in 2017.
"The second you leave and are playing pro it's that job and it really counts," said Kunin to WKOW sports reporter Alec Ausmus in a Zoom call.
Kunin has made his time count. He's now a regular player on the Wild's roster and has traveled with the team to Edmonton for the league's restart.
Kunin has type-1 diabetes, and he was almost deemed 'unfit to play' being at a higher risk with COVID-19. After talking with several doctors, Kunin decided to keep playing through the pandemic.
"You know you're going to have your ups and downs and it is what it is," said Kunin.
"It's a apart of me, it's something I have to deal with. I don't try to think I'm different than anyone else because I have it."
Off the ice Kunin doesn't hide from being a diabetic. He is an ambassador with JDRF Minnesota and talks with kids also battling type-1 diabetes. His message to them is to keep living life to the fullest.
"I think my thing is to be able to talk to kids. Any kids, whether they play sports or not, just that they are normal," said Kunin.
"You have this disease but it doesn't need to stop you from doing what you want to do."
The Wild play the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday in game one of the West Qualifying round at 9:30 p.m.