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October is NHL Hockey Fights Cancer Month

Wednesday, 10.01.2008 / 9:00 AM / NHL Community

By John McGourty - NHL.com Staff Writer

"Each season, through Hockey Fights Cancer, the hockey community increases efforts to build awareness of a disease that has affected us all."
-- Devin Smith, NHLPA director

Miroslav Dvorak opened some eyes in 1967 earning top defenseman honors at the World Junior Championship. During his career he helped Czechoslovakia to eight medals in World Championship play and played in the 1976 and 1981 Canada Cups and the 1980 Olympics.

Trapped in a communist country, Dvorak was forced to wait until his 30s before playing three NHL seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers starting in 1982.  Denied in his career, he also was denied a long life. Dvorak, 56, died in June of cancer.

It's tragedies like these that have inspired the NHL to designate October as Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month. In conjunction with League efforts, each NHL team will host a Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night in its arena.

“Last year we passed the $10-million milestone for money raised for cancer research through Hockey Fights Cancer,” said Bernadette Mansur, executive director of the NHL Foundation. “We thank everyone in the NHL family for their generosity and we will continue to raise money and awareness for this important fight.”

In the past year, hockey also has lost former Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins forward Ray Getliffe and the Canadian Hockey League's President Ed Chynoweth, soon to be inducted posthumously in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Over the years, we have lost thousands more.

Cancer is an insidious disease and few families are spared. For that reason and others, the NHL joined with the NHL Players' Association a decade ago to raise money and awareness for national and local organizations involved in cancer care and research.

“Each season, through Hockey Fights Cancer, the hockey community increases efforts to build awareness of a disease that has affected us all,” said Devin Smith, NHLPA director, marketing and community relations. “October signifies the dedication that players, clubs and fans have to find a cure in hockey’s greatest fight.”

NHL teams will join with local and national cancer organizations to promote cancer awareness and raise funds for hockey’s most important fight. Clubs will hold on-ice presentations, 50/50 raffles, promotional giveaways, contests and discount-ticket offers.  Tickets and arena suites will be donated to children’s hospitals and cancer-affiliated programs, and young patients will be involved with in-game opportunities, including rides on the ice resurfacer, puck-drops, radio-booth visits and player meet-and-greets.

There also will be on-line, live and silent auctions of signed items, including helmets, sticks, jerseys and other team merchandise.  Several clubs will continue to promote awareness by participating in local hospital visits and fundraising runs and walks. 

Lavender, which represents awareness for all cancers, is the designated color for this year’s initiative and will be worn by the hockey community throughout October. Members of the hockey family, including NHL coaches, broadcasters and team personnel, will wear a commemorative Hockey Fights Cancer tie at games in
October.

The lavender tie features blue and pink stripes and an embroidered Hockey Fights Cancer logo. Also, in support of this initiative, all NHL players will wear a Hockey Fights Cancer decal on their helmets during all regular-season games in October.

Additional one-of-a-kind apparel has been created to support Hockey Fights Cancer, including a lavender ladies’ scarf, which features a hockey-stick pattern throughout and the Hockey Fights Cancer logo at two ends. Ladies’ and men’s Hockey Fights Cancer team-specific caps also will be available.

"Last year we passed the $10-million milestone for money raised for cancer research through Hockey Fights Cancer. We thank everyone in the NHL family for their generosity and we will continue to raise money and awareness for this important fight." -- Bernadette Mansur, executive director of the NHL Foundation

The ladies’ lavender garment-washed cap, designed by New Era, features a team logo on the front and an embroidered Hockey Fights Cancer logo on the side. The men’s cap is Reebok’s official 2008-09 Draft Day cap with the Hockey Fights Cancer embroidered patch on the side. 

To further promote this initiative, the NHLPA and the NHL, together with Getty Images, NHL Images and Greystone Books, will publish Reflections 2008 - The NHL Hockey Year In Photographs.  The second of an annual visual celebration, the book chronicles the highlights and candid, behind-the-scenes images from the 2007-08 NHL season. Copies of the book, autographed by team captains, will be auctioned on nhlpa.com and nhl.com in October. 

Hockey fans will be able to purchase the commemorative tie, scarf, caps and book at shop.nhl.com, team stores and the NHL Powered by Reebok store in New York City.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Hockey Fights Cancer.


Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure