Montreal Canadiens restricted free agent defenseman P.K. Subban was one of many in attendance on Saturday when the Yale University women's hockey team held its third annual fundraiser game for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn.
Subban played a part in helping to raise in excess of $10,000 for the Foundation in the memory of the late Mandi Schwartz, the Bulldogs' center who passed away in April 2011 after a two-year battle with cancer.
"I'm a friend of the Leonoff family and know [Yale goalie] Jaimie [Leonoff] really well," Subban told Yale All-Access during the second intermission of Saturday's victory. "I wanted to come and watch [Leonoff play] but when they told me that this charity event was going on for Mandi Schwartz, I was extremely happy to come."
Subban did his part by signing autographs, posing for photos and greeting fans to help raise funds.
"I know Jaden [Schwartz], who played for Canada on the [2012 World Junior Championship] team and represented our country [as captain]," Subban said. "I heard about the story [about Mandi Schwartz], and it was a great cause so I was happy to come out."
Subban was asked how he has utilized his time while awaiting a new contract.
"Well, it doesn't look like I'll have much free time coming up here, so hopefully I'm back on the ice soon," he said. "When you can come out and do events like this with time off, obviously it's great and I'm making good use of my time. But, hopefully I can get back on the ice soon."
The game was the first college hockey match Subban had ever witnessed in person.
"I've been training a lot … maybe too much," he continued. "It's safe to say that I'd like to get back on the ice sooner than later. But sometimes in life you go through processes that aren't the most fun. But you got to go through it."
Subban was also treated to an exceptional effort by Leonoff, who made 31 saves on the way to a 2-0 triumph over Colgate. Freshman forward Jamie Haddad and senior forward Alyssa Zupon scored the for the Bulldogs (4-16-1 overall, 3-10-1 ECAC Hockey).
Former Yale captain Aleca Hughes, who graduated last spring, started the charity in memory of her close friend. The 851 in attendance saw everyone donning white, as a "White Out for Mandi" show of support.
The event helps raise awareness of the need for bone marrow donors and umbilical cord blood donors. In an effort to save her life, Schwartz, the sister of St. Louis Blues forward Jaden, had a stem cell transplant utilizing blood from two anonymous umbilical cord blood donations.
The game also included a special pregame presentation by Mandi's parents, Carol and Rick Schwartz, who made the trip from Wilcox, Saskatchewan. The parents presented ECAC Hockey's Mandi Schwartz Award to Hughes. The award, won by Hughes at the conclusion of last season, is given annually to the conference's student-athlete of the year. They also took time to address the crowd and offer a message of thanks.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL
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