Bretton Chitwood, 17, played center for his hockey team in Washington state.
But then in 2016, he broke his leg and when the then-15-year-old's recovery was slow, doctors ran some tests.
Bretton had to have 30 rounds of chemotherapy and six surgeries, including the amputation of his right foot a year ago.
But he never stopped dreaming of returning to the ice.
"That was the hardest part of chemo," Bretton told ABC-affiliate KOMO. "I mean, I saw my friends continuing their hockey career, and I wanted to play so bad."
Bretton has been working to learn to walk again with the help of a prosthetic.
But walking isn't enough. He also strapped on custom-made ice skates to get back to the sport he loves.
"He's a hockey player, this is where he needs to be," father Adam Chitwood said. "I've seen him become a man through all of this."
"I mean, I look up to him, and he's my son," the father said.
Bretton was a bit off balance during the team's practice Thursday, and he found it exhausting.
But he wouldn't have been able to wipe the smile from his face if he'd tried.
Bretton's humor has remained intact along with his passion for hockey.
He often jokes about his "numb" right foot and has nicknamed his prosthetic "robot foot."
"I was diagnosed with cancer, but I was laughing the whole time," the teen said.
In August, Bretton received some unfortunate news. Doctors discovered three other tumors on his lungs, which meant more surgery. But, they said there is no evidence of the cancer now.
"I live for every day we can say he's cancer-free," mother Kara Chitwood said.
Bretton hopes to be the first amputee to play professional hockey.
"You've just got to stay strong through the toughest times," Bretton said. "I've always felt like a fighter."