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We have some very sad news to report.
According to an official announcement from the Columbus Blue Jackets Department of Public Relations veteran forward Nick Foligno, the organizations captain, will be stepping away from the team effective immediately. This means that Foligno will miss the Blue Jackets upcoming game on Monday against the Ottawa Senators and will remain out for what appears to be an undetermined length of time at this moment.
The move from Foligno has been motivated by his daughter, Milana Foligno, who is set to undergo surgery in Boston for an ongoing heart issue. Milana was born with a congenital hear defect and as a result has been in and out of hospitals far more than any child should ever have to endure, something that understandably has taken a big toll on Foligno himself and his family. In fact this is not the first time that Foligno has stepped away from the team as a result of his daughter's condition and it really speaks to the quality human being that he is that he would so willingly place his daughter ahead of his career ambitions. I do not recall a single fan in Columbus criticizing his decision to step away from the team in the past and I fully expect that he, Milana, and his family will all have the full support of the Blue Jackets fan base once again.
That being said though this was by no means an easy decision for Foligno to make as he has a locker room full of guys, guys that he leads on a nightly basis, that are counting on him both on and off the ice. It sounds like it was quite the scene at Blue Jackets practice today when Foligno made the difficult announcement to his fellow teammates.
From Blue Jackets insider Aaron Portzline:
An emotional scene at the end of Columbus Blue Jacketspractice today when Nick Foligno addressed teammates, told them he was stepping away from the team for Milana’s surgery. When he finished speaking, players tapped the ice with their sticks, then engulfed Foligno in a massive 25-person hug.
Some things in life are simply bigger than hockey and for Nick Foligno there is no question that his beautiful little girl is one of those things. We hope she makes a full and speedy recovery and we hope that this difficult process goes as well as it can for the Foligno family.