The Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night joined the NHL and its member clubs in taking part in the league’s annual Hockey Fights Cancer initiative, honoring those in the hockey community who have struggled with or continue to struggle with the disease.
Each NHL team designates one home game in October as its Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night, and Tuesday’s contest between the Avalanche and Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center was the Avalanche’s night to help in the effort.
“Cancer is probably one of the biggest evils in the world, and anything we can do to fight that is huge,” Avalanche forward Matt Duchene said Tuesday.
Duchene wrapped his “twig” (hockey stick) in purple tape to help in the Avalanche’s effort and in remembrance of his great-aunt Ruby, who died from complications of cancer when Duchene was 12 years old.
“I lost a great-aunt,” Duchene said, “who was way too young, to breast cancer a few years back, so I’ve been directly affected by it, seeing the hard time my family went through with that. It’s nice to be able to do something toward that and raise awareness.”
Other Avalanche activities of support Tuesday night included:
- On behalf of the NHL/NHLPA, the Avalanche presented a $5,000 check to Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation in support of activities and programs for pediatric patients at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.
- A pregame “Dawg Nation Survivor Hockey Game was held, which included participants who are survivors of or who are currently battling cancer or other life-threatening diseases.
- Youth skaters took part in team introductions after being chosen by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
- 13-year-old Logan Piz served as a celebrity puck dropper in an emotional pregame ceremony. Piz, from Arvada Hockey Association, this summer had his Make-A-Wish dream realized when the NHL and Discover Card brought the Stanley Cup to Denver, where he was greeted by Colorado goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
- A group of 50 oncology social workers and nurses from HealthONEfacilities attended the game courtesy of Kroenke Sports Charities and the Colorado Beef Council.
- The Pepsi Center Grand Atrium lobby was lit in lavender throughout the game.
- Cancer Organizations were represented at the game, including Dawg Nation, American Cancer Society, Wings of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Epic Experience, Just-In-Time Neuroblastoma Foundation, LoveHopeStrength Foundation, Susan B. Komen Foundation, Chris Draft Family Foundation and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network;
- The Avalanche coaching staff and broadcasters wore the official Vineyard Vines Hockey Fights Cancer lavender (which represents all cancers) necktie during the game, and throughout the month, all players are wearing a Hockey Fights Cancer decal on their helmets. In addition, six Avalanche players donated a lavender-taped game-used stick to the NHL and NHLPA’s online auction to benefit Hockey Fights Cancer.
Also, on Wednesday, Avalanche players Ryan O’Reilly and Alex Tanguay, along with Avalanche mascot Bernie and the Colorado Avalanche Ice Girls hosted a special Break the Ice skating clinic, sponsored by the Colorado Beef Council, and fun time on the Pepsi Center ice.
The clinic was held for approximately 30 children and their siblings from Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation who have, or are impacted by, cancer.
MORE ON HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER
Hockey Fights Cancer is an initiative founded in December 1998 by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association to raise money and awareness for hockey's most important fight. To date, through the NHL's U.S. and Canadian charitable foundations, more than $12.8 million has been raised under the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative to support national and local cancer-research institutions, children's hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations. The Hockey Fights Cancer program is also a component of the NHL's "Biggest Assist Happens Off the Ice" campaign: the League's long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues in North America and around the world.
The Hockey Fights Cancer program is supported by NHL Member Clubs, NHL Alumni, the NHL Officials' Association, Professional Hockey Trainers and Equipment Managers, corporate marketing partners, broadcast partners and fans throughout North America.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can show your support by purchasing “Hockey Fights Cancer” merchandise such as ties, T-shirts, bracelets, caps and hats at Shop.NHL.com or Shop.Canada.NHL.com. Depending on the type of merchandise sold, from USD $2.15 to $7.26 of each sale will be donated to the NHL's charitable foundations toward the “Hockey Fights Cancer” initiative.