Friday, February 10, 2006


The NAHL family regularly dedicates time, effort and funds to assist others who have been less fortunate, through disaster, disease or social distress.

Now it is helping one of its own.

Helena Bighorns coach Brent Agrusa has been ill since this past summer, suffering from an unusual combination of viruses that has left him not only unable to coach, but unable to function normally. At times, Brent has been bedridden as his doctors tirelessly searched for diagnosis and treatment.

“Brent has seen numerous doctors and has had several test to try and determine his illness,” says Bighorns president Mike Butters.

Brent’s visit to a respected doctor, to whom Agrusa was referred by the Mayo Clinic, has produced a complicated diagnosis and course of treatment.

“Here is what we know,” says Butters. “Brent has the following: Chronic EBV Virus, Chronic CMV Virus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Rheumatic Fever. But Brent’s anti-viral drug treatments are currently costing him $3,000 per month."

Agrusa has been taking a number of experimental drugs prescribed by his doctor and these drugs seem to be having a positive effect. But his health insurance does not cover these treatments and his costs for the drugs and for related expenses have spiraled greatly.The medical costs Brent and his family have had to bear now exceed $80,000.

He has been fortunate to have received assistance from the Bighorns, from the Central States Hockey League (where he coached prior to the NAHL) and from a number of concerned friends.

But Brent still owes over $66,000.

So the hockey community is being asked to assist Coach Agrusa -- and the NAHL has stepped up to help raise money to defray his costs.

“I greatly appreciate the concern and assistance given to me and my family since I’ve been ill,” Agrusa said from his home in Michigan, where he continues to receive treatment. “ I want to thanks to the hockey community for their support -- and especially my friends in the NAHL. It is wonderful news that you will be assisting me.”

At a recent NAHL Board of Governors meeting, Butters briefed his fellow owners on Brent’s situation and appealed to them for help. NAHL commissioner Michael Santos has also issued an appeal to the teams and to friends and fans of the Helena Bighorns and the entire NAHL to assist Brent at this difficult time.

“Please keep Brent in your thoughts and prayers,” said Santos.

At Santos’ direction, the NAHL has established a fund for Brent Agrusa to which the NAHL community can donate whatever they can to help the Bighorns coach return to health and his profession.

These donations should be sent to:

The Brent Agrusa Fund
c/o Mark Rule & Co.
ATT: Suzie Hall
926 South Arizona
Butte, MT 59701

Please make your check or money order payable to the “North American Hockey League” with a notation that it is a “Donation to Brent Agrusa.”

The NAHL, the Helena Bighorns and the Agrusa family sincerely thank you.

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