NYU hockey sends uplifting video to teammate after brain surgery

NYU goaltender Sam Daley is recuperating after brain surgery.

Leandra Reilly Lardner

New York University goaltender Sam Daley has no way of knowing when he’ll be able to return to the ice after doctors at Mass General Hospital in Boston removed a brain tumor during a six-hour procedure on Wednesday. But rest assured, Daley’s teammates will have their goaltender’s back every step of the way as he makes his long, difficult recovery.

Daley left school for his family home in New Hampshire after the fall semester ended in December, and on New Year’s Eve, doctors finally solved a mystery that had baffled Daley and his family for months –€” the numbness he’d been feeling throughout the left side of his body was being caused by an apricot-sized tumor invading his cerebellum and spinal cord stem.

The diagnosis was a shock to everyone, from his parents, Jack and Leslie, to his NYU coach Chris Cosentino and his teammates. No content to sit idly by, though, his brothers –€” as he calls them –€” on the NYU team assembled a video wishing Daley well and began circulating the #DaleyStrong hashtag on Twitter.

With players all over the country and across the globe, Cosentino said it was a mighty task to compile the messages of support featured in the seven-minute clip, but they were able to get it to Daley Tuesday night, in time for one last boost before heading into the operating room Wednesday morning.

Dr. Bryan Nahed, who performed the surgery, told Daley’s parents that the procedure went as well as it could have. He believes he got "99.9 percent" of the tumor out. And because of Daley’s age and physical stature, Nahed doesn’t expect that the tumor will be found to have been malignant, though the family won’t know that for sure until next week.

The support of Daley’s friends and teammates has been invaluable, according to his parents.

"He’s told me many times that he doesn’t know what his college experience would be like without his team and that’s what makes his whole college experience there what it is for him," Leslie Daley told FOX Sports Thursday. "He loves being in the city, he loves New York City, he loves the school, and he particularly loves his team and his teammates and being part of a team is very, very important to him."

For the team, however, this small message of solidarity and support was the least they could do.

"You can see it in the video how sincere the guys are," Cosentino told FOX Sports. "We’re not just losing our starting goalie. This is guy who has made such a profound impact on everyone off the ice. He’s an incredible student, he does incredible things in the community and he’s always had our back in games. Always. And now he needs us to have his, and we certainly do."