From ESPN's Joe McDonald:
As one of the youngest players in the NHL, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin is known for his maturity off the ice.
The 18-year-old had no choice but to grow up fast.
At 13, Hanifin was in the eighth grade and playing varsity hockey at St. Sebastian's School in Needham, Massachusetts, when his father, Bob, was diagnosed with colon and kidney cancer. During his dad's yearlong chemotherapy treatment, Hanifin became the man of the house, helping his mom and two younger siblings.
"Any hockey player can say their dad had a big impact on their life, taking them to the rink every day," Hanifin said. "When he was sick, it was the first time I have had to deal with adversity. It may not have been hockey, but it was some sort of adversity. It made me grow a lot as a person. Just going through that experience with my dad I matured a lot as a person and that ultimately helped me as a player."
At June's draft, Hanifin was in the stands at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, when his name was called as the fifth overall selection. His parents, younger brother and sister were with him.
"It was awesome. It was a dream come true," Hanifin said. "It was such a surreal experience. You don't really get it until you're there on that day and you're sitting there so nervous with your family. Luckily for me, I was drafted by the Hurricanes and to be able to go through that with my family was one of the best feelings of my life."
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