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Hockey Fights Cancer

Acciari wears purple suit in honor of late college teammate

On Hockey Fights Cancer Night in Boston, forward finds way to remember his friend

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Noel Acciari flipped up the collar of his purple suit. On the underside, embroidered in white thread, was stitched "DB7."

It was there on the inside pocket of the suit jacket, too, another reminder of why the Boston Bruins forward was wearing this suit on this night, a game night against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden. DB7.

It was almost a year ago that Drew Brown, Acciari's best friend and former prep school and Providence College teammate, died after a lengthy fight with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He had been diagnosed in 2014 after sustaining a leg injury, when an MRI revealed a tumor. Brown died on Nov. 11, 2017.

"It's in honor of him," Acciari said, showing off the details of the suit, which he wore on the Bruins' Hockey Fights Cancer night, a 3-0 win against the Flyers. "Just a tribute to him, in any way I can."

Tweet from @NHLBruins: Tonight, we go lavender to celebrate #HockeyFightsCancer. pic.twitter.com/9ANKPxeUwu

In 2015, Acciari was the captain of the Providence College team that won the NCAA championship, a run that the Bruins forward has said was fueled by Brown. Brown spent the 2014-2015 season as an assistant student coach with the team and graduated in 2016.

Last November, Acciari worked to help spread the word about a GoFundMe page for Brown's medical expenses.

This year, he remembered his friend by wearing the suit made by Christopher Cuozzo. 

Tweet from @NHLBruins: Who do you fight for?#HockeyFightsCancer pic.twitter.com/mjdQSSwzqC

As the Bruins players held up their lavender signs on the video screen at TD Garden during the game, naming who they fight for, those they know who have been affected by cancer, Acciari's words rang out clearly:

"I fight for Drew Brown," he said.

"I think about him all the time," Acciari said. "On my sticks, I have No. 7 drawn on the butt end of the tape. He's always with me. I take him with me everywhere."

Though, he said, he would have taken some ribbing from Brown, had his friend been able to see him.

Tweet from @NHLBruins: In memory of his former @FriarsHockey teammate Drew Brown, Noel Acciari is donning this purple suit for #HockeyFightsCancer night. pic.twitter.com/caJgPCApkc

"He'd be laughing at me right now with this on," said Acciari, who planned to snap a few pictures for Brown's family and said he would likely wear the suit a couple of times during Hockey Fights Cancer Month. "He'd be like, 'What are you wearing?'"

He laughed, softly.

For Acciari, Brown was even more present than usual on Thursday, two and a half weeks shy of the anniversary of his death.

"I think from here on out, every month of November - and especially that date - is going to be special to me," Acciari said.

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