The family of Cedar Rapids(USHL) defenseman Will Francis announced on Tuesday evening, via CaringBridge, that the Minnesota Duluth commit and Anaheim Ducks draft pick is currently undergoing chemotherapy for B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia-(All). Remission rates for ALL, especially in younger patients, are high, which is a positive, but any type of cancer in the blood is obviously a very serious condition.
Francis emerged as a top prospect as a hard-nosed two-way defenseman for Centennial High School, helping lead the Cougars to a fourth place state finish in 2017-2018. The next season, he moved to the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders of the USHL, where his physical play earned him a scholarship offer to Minnesota Duluth, and caught the eye of the Anaheim Ducks, who selected Francis in the sixth round, 163rd overall in the 2019 NHL Draft. Francis only appeared in 10 games this season for Cedar Rapids before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
But concerns about the future of his hockey career take a backseat to his overall health and well-being. Our best wishes go out to Will for an extremely successful and speedy recovery.