Harris went to a number of doctors before finally being properly diagnosed.
“At first they thought I had asthma — which I did. I had developed it. It wasn’t something I was born with,” Harris said. “But that was only part of the problem. After things had gotten so frustrating, I saw some Harris, who admittedly hadn’t been the most conscientious athlete when it came to training in nutrition, has now started to take better care of his body.
“He has been an absolute professional in regards to nutrition and his fitness,” Burkholder said. “He did everything possible, and then some, to put himself in a position to succeed.”
Harris said he couldn't have done it by himself. He credited his fiancee, Crystal, for standing behind his decision to come back.
“I have to give my fiancee all the credit in the world for this. She’s the greatest support system I could ever ask for,” he said. “She was a good hockey player herself. She went to women’s Olympic camps. She loves hockey as much as I do. She was there 100 percent. She kinds of bestowed it upon me that I didn’t want any regrets. She said go for it and I said ’Thank You.’ ”
The return has rekindled Harris’ passion for the game, and he hopes to find a career in the sport.
“I love this sport and I think about it as much as anybody in this sport thinks about it. I want to be a professional hockey player. That’s my No. 1 goal,” he said. “There’s going to be a time when that comes to an end — whether it’s at the end of this year or 15 years from now. When that time comes, I want to be an elite level hockey coach, whether it’s at Division I or in the NHL.”
With that air of confidence about him, Harris has a good chance of succeeding.
Contact Pat Murray at (716) 282-2311, Ext. 2258.