MONTREAL - Les Canadiennes will be swapping their usual bleu-blanc-rouge for pink and white on Saturday night.
The seventh edition of the "Pink in the Rink" game, an event which is held to continue the fight against breast cancer, will be played on Saturday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. One out of nine females in Quebec will be diagnosed with the disease in her lifetime - a statistic members of Les Canadiennes have taken to heart.
"We were looking to help raise funds for a cause. Caroline Ouellette's aunt and my mother were stricken by cancer at almost the same time a few years ago and we thought it was an excellent cause to support. We want to pay tribute to women affected by cancer," said assistant coach and former team captain, Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux. "Before our first 'Pink in the Rink' game, we brought her aunt and my mom out onto the ice and I made a speech. I was so stressed. Caroline and I gave each of them a rose."
Initially, the funds collected during the event were given to the Breast Cancer Foundation of Quebec. For the past two years, though, Les Canadiennes have associated themselves with the Wellness Initiative of the Cedars Breast Clinic at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), which offers a range of kinesiology, psycho-oncology, lymphedema therapy, specialized nursing, and educational and exercise services to women living with breast cancer.
Through their efforts, Les Canadiennes have raised over $70,000 to date through the "Pink in the Rink" initiative. While many new players have joined the team over the years, each one of them is well-aware of the origins of this movement. That's why all of the members of the organization hope to contribute to the success of the event in their own unique way. In fact, it's become one the highlights on the Canadian Women's Hockey League's schedule.
"Having girls who have been touched so close to home by this disease really inspires every member of the team to get involved and want to make a difference. Near or far, every player is touched by breast cancer. And it doesn't only affect the people who are diagnosed, but their families - their parents and their children - as well," stressed Ouellette, whose aunt, Claire, has been in remission for the past few years and attends all of her niece's games. "This game allows us to increase awareness. They're battling for their lives. It's the ultimate battle in our world."
In addition to having the opportunity to see some of the best female hockey players on the planet at work for just $15, fans on site can participate in a silent auction where many different collectible items will be available, along with tickets for different upcoming events - including Canadiens games.
When Les Canadiennes and the Toronto Furies face off on Saturday, they'll be fighting for much more than just two points in the standings.
"That part is really important. It's for a great cause. It contributes to research, supports women, and aims to make their lives as comfortable as possible while they're trying to beat cancer," concluded Breton-Lebreux.
Tickets for the "Pink in the Rink" on Saturday, February 4 at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard can be purchased HERE. The game will also be broadcast live on Sportsnet, beginning at 3:30 p.m.