By AJ Manderichio
The tension hung in the air right before the final shooter skated on the ice.
The 19th Annual Fedorin Cup, an annual charity hockey game held at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE, always features a venerable who’s-who list of current and former Anaheim Ducks. While the game centers around raising money for cancer research, the current and former pros – and the amateur players scattered amongst them – don’t want to lose.
Team USA, a squad featuring alumni Todd Marchant and Teemu Selanne (who must have registered with his Coto de Caza address), trailed Team Canada by one in the deciding round of the shootout. Score, and the game continued. Miss, and it was over.
Selanne darted from the bench, collecting the puck from center ice in one motion. Quickly speeding in on netminder Tom Spiers, Selanne hit the brakes at the top of the crease, looking to sneak a quick chip shot into the net.
Spiers denied the Finnish Flash, drawing cheers from the crowd (and a good-natured jab or two from Selanne) with a double-pad stack to clinch an 11-10 win for Team Canada.
The score on this night, though, hardly mattered.
The idea for the Fedorin Cup spawned from a postgame brainstorming session after a rec-league game. Rick Hutchinson, the Director of Hockey for THE RINKS and Anaheim Ducks, and his teammates wanted to do something to support teammate Eric Fedorin, who was diagnosed with brain cancer. They decided on a charity game to raise money to help pay for treatment.
The second year was marked with tragedy, as Fedorin died just two weeks before the game.
“That kind of hit home with all of us,” Hutchinson said. “A couple of the guys and myself said, ‘You know what? Let’s keep doing it.’ We wanted to raise money and bring awareness to the community and so, 19 years later, here we are.”
The Fedorin Cup grew from a charity game to an all-day event. The game is still a highlight, as the two teams played three periods full of offense and high-end scoring chances. It also includes a Casino Night and various on-ice games and activities to raise money for charities like Hockey Fights Cancer.
Hutchinson said this year's Fedorin Cup would raise anywhere between $30,000 and $50,000 for charity.
With a worthwhile cause hosted at the organization’s practice facility, it was a logical step for the Ducks to get involved.
“It’s fun,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (who also captained Team Canada) said. “It’s part of the community, hosted here at our practice rink and Hutchy [Rick Hutchinson] has done a lot for hockey out here. To get out and support the event is great for us.”
“Any time you can raise money and awareness for cancer [is important],” Marchant said. “The hockey community is so close and so tight-knit, and it’s great to see some of the other guys come back and get a chance to get on the ice with them.”
Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano, playing in the game for the first time, recorded a hat trick and the game-winning shootout tally.
“It’s good to just get out there, move the puck around and get in the game a little bit and have a little fun,” he said. “That’s the point of the day – to have a little fun and raise some money.”
Those who benefit the most were seen on the ice, as cancer survivor Eric Naughton skated with Team Canada. He chipped in with a goal in the win, an inspiring sight for the players on the ice.
“I admire those people,” Selanne said. “They have way bigger battles than we have on the ice. To stay positive and being a good example for everybody is important. It’s a big honor for me [to play with them], too.”