Dapper Dan will honor Pascal Dupuis for his courage
February 11, 2016 12:04 AM
Pascal Dupuis celebrates one of his final goals in November.
By Jenn Menendez / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pascal Dupuis was relentless this past offseason in his pursuit to return to the NHL after a pulmonary embolism abruptly shelved his career in November 2014.
For nearly 10 weeks he managed, jumping through every medical hoop to lace up his skates for another shift, another game, another crack at his dream of winning a second Stanley Cup.
But the health scares were adding up, and eventually one came with chest pains.
So, Dec. 8, in Colorado, he announced the time had come to let go.
For the great resolve he showed, Dupuis has been awarded the inaugural Dapper Dan Courage Award, presented to a Pittsburgh area athlete who best exemplifies the meaning of perseverance by overcoming adversity while serving as an inspiration to their teammates or organization.
Dupuis will be honored Wednesday at the Dapper Dan Dinner and Sports Auction and give a short speech about his experience.
“I had to. I had to at least give it a shot,” said Dupuis after the Penguins lost, 3-0, to the New York Rangers.
“It was worth it, all the effort that I put in to see that, yes, I could play at that level again.
“I basically proved it to myself that I could come back and play at that level.”
Shortly after his decision to stop playing, Dupuis revealed that he risked a clotting issue every time he flew on a plane, got dehydrated or absorbed a hit.
More risk came when he had to undergo testing that included CT scans or radiation.
Now, he explains that he considered the decision for more than a month, and was nudged by general manager Jim Rutherford before finally deciding to stop playing. His wife and four children were on his mind.
He now sees courage in having the strength to let go.
“I think courage could be that also. It could be me making the hard decision of going away from the game. I’m 36, and playing hockey since I’m 4,” said Dupuis.
“That’s 32 years of all I know. This is my life. It’s the one thing I’ve done passionately for 32 years.”
He said he is almost at peace with his decision.
“I’m getting there,” he said.
“I haven’t put skates back on. My bag is still in my garage. I have stuff here [at Consol Energy Center] that’s left in trunks. I’ve gone on the ice with my son’s team.
“But I haven’t shot a puck or played in a hockey game since.”
Dupuis is around the team still, present at home games and still feels that surge of adrenaline.
“I proved I could come back from the knee injury. I almost proved that I could come back again,” he said.
“It’s that drive, courage, determination that made me do all these things.”
Dupuis would like to pursue a role with the organization down the road.
He is expected to remain on long-term injured reserve until his contract expires after next season.
Jenn Menendez: email@example.com and Twitter @JennMenendez.
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