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Hockey Fights Cancer Month makes big impact

by David Kalan
A child growing up in Winnipeg knows what the logo for Tim Hortons looks like. The red and yellow script is ubiquitous throughout Canada, so you could excuse that child for being confused if he was sitting in the MTS Centre this weekend and wasn't quite sure why Tim Hortons was written in lavender on the dasher boards when the Jets hosted Carolina.

The color was no mistake, though. The Jets worked with each of their advertising partners to have lavender versions of the boards created as one part of Winnipeg's participation in the League-wide Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.


A comprehensive list of the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer initiatives, a list of what individual teams have or will be doing and ways for fans to donate to the cause can be found at the League's official HFC homepage.
The Jets are just one of several teams turning their boards lavender -- the Kings, Wild and Canucks also have done so to raise awareness of the disease during the month of October in what is a wide-reaching and multifaceted effort.

This is the 14th consecutive season in which the NHL is supporting the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative, and as a result, each team is dedicating a night to bring attention to the cause. The Jets did so Oct. 22, not simply dressing up their boards but also outfitting team and arena workers in lavender ties and pins while also setting up various stations and methods for fans to donate to the cause throughout the arena.

Chicago will hold its Hockey Fights Cancer night this Saturday, with events including a silent auction as well as a ceremonial puck drop prior to the game to be performed by a child battling cancer. Many team's initiatives will involve cancer survivors or those still fighting the disease as part of their events. Tampa Bay, for example, which also will hold its event Saturday, is inviting to the game more than 2,000 people who have been affected or impacted by the disease.

The NHL has worked on several League-wide efforts to help bring attention to the cause, most notably by distributing lavender Hockey Fights Cancer ties to team employees and putting decals on every player's helmet throughout the month of October. For this year's initiative, the League has chosen to work with several cancer-awareness organizations as its charitable partners, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Prostate Cancer Canada (for Canadian teams), ZERO - The Project to End Prostate Cancer (U.S. teams) and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

In addition, the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer initiative has donated $5,000 to each member club as a charitable grant for the teams to then distribute to the cancer awareness organization of their choice. This Saturday during their cancer-awareness night, the Blackhawks will donate half of their grant to the Melanoma Research Foundation and half to the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

Individual players also have played their part in raising awareness and money for the cause. Columbus goalie Steve Mason wore a set of purple pads this week, while the entire Blue Jackets team wore purple warm-up jerseys, all of which are being auctioned off for cancer-related charities. Penguins, too, will be wearing purple warm-up jerseys for their pregame skate Thursday night. Montreal's Carey Price wore pink pads for several games this month that also will be auctioned off for charity.

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