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An All-Out Fight Against Cancer

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
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The NHL launched the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign for the month of October, and on Thursday night, the Islanders and their fans contributed to the cause with Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Nassau Coliseum. It was a total team effort to raise money and awareness in the battle against one of the world's deadliest diseases. In 2007, 7.6 million people died from cancer throughout the world.
The Courtneys with Rick DiPietro Sr.
Islanders fans played a big role in Thursday’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night. Thousands of dollars were raised thanks to the fans' generous donations during the Islanders Stick Auction. Fans bid on Thursday’s game-used Islanders sticks with all of the proceeds going towards to the fight against cancer.
Rick DiPetro's game-used stick went for $600 and was won by Mark Courtney, who hails from Medford, Oregon. Courtney and his children, Lindsey and Chase, traveled from Oregon to see their two favorite teams. Chase is an Islanders fan, while Lindsey is a Dallas Stars fan.
"We saved up some money and traveled to New York because it was the perfect opportunity to see both of my children's favorite teams," said Mark. "Then, when we saw sticks were being auctioned off for a good cause, I knew I had to get one. I've had family members die from cancer, so there was no way to pass up on this opportunity."
Helping out with the Stick Auction were Rick DiPietro's fiancé Cassie, and his father Rick Sr. When Rick Sr. heard Mark's story, he offered to get the stick signed by his son. Because of Rick Sr.'s generosity, Mark donated an extra $150 to Hockey Fights Cancer.
To do their part, the Islanders players taped their sticks in stylish pink tape to support the fight against cancer. The players were asked to wear the pink tape during warm-ups and were allowed to take it off for the game. But ultimately, most of the players kept the pink tape on the entire game.
"Cancer affects so many people around the world," said Captain Bill Guerin. "Anybody you meet has been affected by cancer some way. It's a terrible disease and we're just doing our part to help raise awareness and money, and find a cure. Every time we do something like this it's always personal. With my father passing away from cancer last year, it really hits home. It's just one of those things where you hope you do enough. You do what you can."
Along with wearing the pink tape on their sticks, each player has worn a "Hockey Fights Cancer" decal on their helmets all month.
While watching the game live at the Nassau Coliseum or on television, Thursday night, fans might have noticed the purple and pink "Hockey Fights Cancer" ties being worn by the coaches and broadcasters.
"It's great to show support for this cause," said Head Coach Scott Gordon. "A lot of people are affected by cancer, and I think it's great to be a part of this."
Throughout Thursday night's action, the Islanders game operations and community departments raised awareness for Hockey Fights Cancer. Ice Girls were wearing special pink jerseys, while Islanders staff members wore cancer-awareness pins and a variety of pink ties and shirts.
The charity of the game was the 1 in 9 Hewlett House: Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition, which was represented by Geri Barish, who dropped the ceremonial first puck.
"It's extremely important for the Islanders and the NHL to be involved with this fight because it shows there is collaboration between sports and the community," said Barish. "We have dedicated what we do for the next generation."
Joining Hewlett House in the concourse was CancerCare of Long Island, which will be holding its 6th Annual Lung Cancer Walk on Sunday, November 2nd at the Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course in Woodbury, NY.
"Cancer touches everybody's life," said CancerCare's Director of Outreach and Marketing Jeanie Barnett. "We can't our message out completely by ourselves, and need the Islanders and the NHL to help. We're grateful for them helping us spread the word about our services.
To sign up for the 6th Annual Lung Cancer Walk, please click here.
Rafaelo Carrone, 8, had a special night as well. He served as the game's stick boy, standing on the Islanders' bench during warm-ups. Carrone's cancer has been in remission for a year.
Scott Gordon and sons
With Scott Gordon's wife and sons based in Atlanta, he doesn't have too many opportunities to see his family during the hockey season. Thursday was an exception. Following the Islanders' morning skate, Gordon had sons Eric, 9, and Ryan, 6, skated on the Coliseum ice for some special tutoring from their father and goaltending coach Mike Dunham.
"Eric will be in goal tonight," Gordon joked to the media this morning. "I tried to keep Eric away from being goalie by saying he couldn't be one until he skated backwards. At seven he made it very clear he could skate backwards and it was time to get him pads. Ryan, is a forward, and has come along way. He is on a travel team in Atlanta. He just loves to play."

Click here to purchase tickets to Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Click here to purchase a Special Family Fun Pack for Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Click here to find out more about the 6th Annual CancerCare Lung Cancer Walk on November 2nd.

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