When it comes to raising money for a good cause, there isn't much Rick DiPietro
won't do -- even if it means wearing all pink.
That's just what the New York Islanders
goaltender did at Monday morning's practice in Toronto, as DiPietro was wearing new pink leg pads, blocker and catching glove, all in support of breast cancer and Hockey Fights Cancer month.
An aunt of DiPietro's wife died from breast cancer, and to honor her memory, DiPietro is doing what he can to help raise awareness and money in search of a cure. After he wears the pads, he'll be auctioning them off through his foundation, with the money going to breast cancer research.
WATCH: DiPietro sports pink pads
"It was something that was very close to me," DiPietro told NHL.com. "I have the pink ribbon on the back of my helmet. We have a chance to bring attention to the fight against cancer. I thought it would be fitting to get some pads and sticks made up to help raise some money for the cause, and heighten people's awareness for what's a growing problem."
The only action DiPietro's new pads will see Monday were in the morning practice -- Dwayne Roloson
will start Monday night against the Maple Leafs, and DiPietro will wear his regular gear while he serves as the backup. The pads have been certified by the NHL, but DiPietro said he needs a little bit more time to break them in.
DiPietro said he's hoping to wear them throughout October. And he said he's working with Bauer, which makes his pads, to produce a few more sets that he can break in quickly, wear and then auction off for charity.
"This is the maiden voyage for this whole practice," DiPietro said. "We're going to try this first set and see how many they can get made up. See if we can't get people to donate a lot of money for it."
If the pink pads work out, DiPietro said it won't be the last time you see him in something other than his typical gear.
"It's something we've been talking about doing for different causes throughout the season to raise money," he said. "There's definitely things I want to do with different charities. Cancer research is near and dear to my heart, and my wife's heart. There's lots of stuff I want to do with charities that deal with the military, wounded soldiers that come back, so you might see some Army fatigue pads."
While goaltenders tend to be very particular about their equipment, DiPietro said any discomfort is worth it when weighed against the amount of good it could possibly do.
"It's not so much to ask me to break in some new gear and raise awareness and money for great causes," he said. "It's something I enjoy doing and have a lot of fun with."
A lot of things are fun for DiPietro right now. Even though he won't be starting Monday, he's just happy to be able to play. Knee and hip injuries limited him to just 13 games the previous two seasons. This season, however, he's been healthy and effective, going 1-0-2 with a 3.53 goals-against average in three games.
"It's been a tough last couple years," DiPietro said. "When you go through hard times like that and you step back and try to take the positives from everything, as tough a situation as it is, you learn how lucky you are and how blessed you are. Every time I get to put on my goalie equipment, I'm one of the one percent that gets to be a professional athlete. It's pretty special.
"We go to hospitals at Christmas time and visit kids with leukemia and cancer -- being on crutches and rehabbing from knee surgery doesn't seem like that big a deal."
DiPietro's teammates didn't think it was a big deal seeing their goalie all in pink, either. He said some of them told him "the gear looked pretty cool." Of course, a few others had some good-natured comments.
"I just told them that only a real man can wear pink," DiPietro said.
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