Jacob Buch is back at London Knights Training Camp hoping to earn a roster spot with the club that selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.
The 18-year-old from Stoney Creek, Ont., has yet to compete for the green and gold, but has demonstrated unrivaled perseverance since committing to the team three years ago.
Buch was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that affects mainly children and adolescents. His battle with the disease kept him off the ice for the entire 2015-16 season fueling his desire to come back.
“I’m kind of the older guy here now,” Buch said Tuesday in an interview with Ryan Pyette of the London Free Press at Budweiser Gardens. “You don’t see too many guys my age come into camp thinking they’re going to make it if they haven’t played in the league yet.
“It’s always been my goal to play here. Getting sick was a little bit of a setback, but nothing was going to get in my way. I’m here and I have to prove I’m able to play at this level.
“I worked really hard this off-season to get here.”
— London Free Press (@LFPress) August 29, 2017
Buch’s battle has always been a source of inspiration for the Knights, especially during their championship season in 2016.
The first person to hoist the Robertson Cup following the Knights’ four-game sweep of the Niagara IceDogs was Buch who accepted the trophy from co-captain Mitch Marner.
“I didn’t know what to think,” Buch said in an interview with CTV London’s Brent Lale. “Mitch is a great guy, it was a great thing to do. I can’t really put words to it.”
— CTV London (@CTVLondon) August 30, 2017
Buch split the 2016-17 season with the GOJHL’s Thorold Blackhawks and Elmira Sugar Kings playing in 30 total regular season contests before being limited to just 12 playoff matchups due to an injured hip.
The Sugar Kings captured the Sutherland Cup marking the third time Buch has celebrated a Junior B title having won twice as a member with the Caledonia Corvairs.
“Seeing where he was to where he (Buch) is now is thrilling,” said Knights GM Rob Simpson.
Wherever Buch skates in September, it’s inspiring to see him back.