Work ethic helps Knight fight diabetes

Jared Knight, the London Knights (OHL) winger whom the Bruins drafted in the second round (32nd overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, describes himself as a pesky player who doesn’t let his size take away from his talents.

"I think, if you're going to look at my play, I think [I’m] just a hard-working player, a hard-nosed player who goes hard to the net, who’s not afraid to take the post off," Knight said immediately after being drafted by the Bruins last month. "I think I have a good skill set too and I think what really sets me apart is my work ethic and the way I work out there."

That work ethic and desire is what has enabled Knight to overcome probably his biggest challenge yet. Last fall, Knight was losing weight at an abnormal speed and he knew something was wrong. A teammate who was familiar with the symptoms of diabetes urged him to go to a doctor, and in November Knight was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“I was losing lots of weight, like 20 to 25 pounds, and I knew something was wrong,” Knight recalled. “They diagnosed me with type 1 diabetes and put me on insulin.”

But instead of letting the diagnosis discourage him, Knight met the challenge head on and as a result he has become more aware of his health and diet.

“I think it’s really helped me because my diet is unbelievable right now,” said Knight, who must take four insulin shots a day. “I’m eating and living healthy. I’m keeping my body in shape and I think being diagnosed made this happen because, to be honest, I didn’t take the best care of myself before. I mean I was obviously not in bad shape working out and playing hockey, but this makes you really watch it and care about your diet.”

Knight actually finished the season strong after his diagnosis, lighting the lamp 31 times for the Knights and ending the season with 57 points in 63 games.

“When I was diagnosed, I actually started playing better after,” Knight pointed out. “I only missed a couple of weeks because once they got me on the insulin, I popped the weight back on and was ready to go.”

The Battle Creek, Mich., native, who has impressed the team brass at development camp and played on a line with top pick Tyler Seguin, views living with diabetes as one of his biggest accomplishments so far.

“Besides being drafted in the NHL and OHL, probably being diagnosed with diabetes and learning to live with it is my biggest accomplishment for sure,” Knight said. "Bobby Clarke had diabetes and that was like 25 years ago, so if he can do it, why can’t I?”

James Murphy has covered the Bruins and the NHL for the last eight seasons. He has written for NHL.com, NESN.com, Insidehockey.com and Le Hockey Magazine. Murphy also authors a blog, Drop Puck Murphy.