One coach at the Bell Capital Cup is thankful to be back behind the bench, and not in the hospital, after blood clots in his lungs had him fighting for his life.

Mike Fowler coaches the Minor Peewee A Nepean Raiders White in Ottawa, a group of players who are 12 and 13 years old.

One year ago, Fowler coached in the annual holiday tournament from his hospital bed while he was awaiting surgery for blood clots that formed in his lungs.

Mike Fowler, coach Nepean Raiders

Mike Fowler is a noticeable force behind the Nepean Raiders' bench as he loudly calls out instructions to his team. (CBC)

The surgery was successful and he has bounced back, as the vocal coach could be heard loudly bellowing instructions to his players on Saturday in wins over the RWC Crusaders and Barrie Colts.

His players said their motivation for winning the tournament is about playing for each other and for their coach.

“It just makes me feel very special. Every one of those kids, I just love them dearly,” said Fowler, whose son Jonathan is a goalie on the team.

Jonathan picked up a shutout in the team’s 5-0 win over Barrie.

Fowler’s health battle continues, though, as he faces his surgery in January. But his players say they hope to help him through that fight by winning the tournament.

Their next game goes Monday morning against the Halton Hills Thunder, but they have already clinched a spot in the semifinals on Tuesday.