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Hockey fights cancer

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Christian Ehrhoff was a team-high plus-36 last season and there’s a reason why. The Canucks defenceman makes smart decisions.

Before playing in the NHL was even a possibility, Ehrhoff made the smartest decision of all and his father is alive today because of it.

When Ehrhoff, a native of Moers, Germany, was 16-years-old, his father Achim was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer characterized by the spread of disease from one lymph node group to another leading to the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease.

Ehrhoff was coming off a successful 10 goal-24 point season with the Krefeld junior team, which had garnered attention from North American major junior teams. The opportunity to expand his hockey horizon was there, unfortunately the timing was not.

“I had the option to go play junior hockey in Canada and we as a family made the decision that I would stay home and take a different path,” said Ehrhoff.

“I wanted to be there for him and I think it helped my dad too that my sister and I gave him the support and he had something to look forward to while he went through that battle and I think that helped him.”

There’s no doubt it did as after a lengthy battle with cancer, Achim overcame it and he remains active and healthy to this day.

The end justified the means for the Ehrhoffs, but it was difficult for Christian to watch his dad go through what he did. Treatment is not only painful for those receiving it, a toll is also taken on the family and friends lending support.

“Looking back, it took a couple of years I think, he had to go to the hospital for a few months and he had all his blood transferred and cleared and it’s very tough on the body. But all that helped him to be cancer free and after five years of being cancer free, they say it’s over with, the chances are pretty slim of it coming back.

“We got over that and he’s good now. He battled through his sickness and I’m very proud of him.”

Achim Ehrhoff is a cancer survivor and the Canucks are joining the battle to help others make the same claim.

That’s the premise behind Hockey Fights Cancer, an initiative run by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association to raise money and awareness to support national and local cancer research institutions, children’s hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.

On Sunday, October 17, when Vancouver hosts Carolina, the Canucks will do their part to support this worthy cause by hosting Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night as part of Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month.

On the ice the Canucks will continue to sport the Hockey Fights Cancer decal on their helmets that has been there throughout the month, while the coaching staff and broadcasters will wear lavender ties. Lavender represents awareness for all cancers and is the designated color for this year’s initiative.

Five different cancer agencies will be in attendance at Rogers Arena that evening, including Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Prostate Cancer, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and BC Cancer Agency.

Fans interested in learning more on how they can help fight cancer can log on to, or stop by the Canucks team store and pick up a special 2010-11 Hockey Fights Cancer tie. Additional merchandise, including men’s ties, ladies jackets, t-shirts, caps and NHL Dream Capsules, is available at

Supporting hockey’s most important fight can now even be done through sending a text.

Text HFC to 45678 to make a $5 donation and help find a cure for cancer. (A one-time charge of $5 will be added to your mobile phone bill. For full terms, visit

To date, Hockey Fights Cancer has raised more than $10.5 million, money that is given to national and local organizations involved in cancer care and research.

If you are attending the game on the 17th and want to see the direct result of how you can help the lives of others, give a wave to the children from BC Children’s Hospital Oncology unit and the Leukemia Lymphoma society in Lui’s Crease Club. Their faces will say it all.

The Vancouver Canucks and the National Hockey League would like to thank you for supporting Hockey Fights Cancer.

Dedicated to my late grandma Mabel Jory, whom cancer took from us this past summer. We miss you.

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