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Hockey Fights Cancer

Hockey Fights Cancer personal for Troy Brouwer

Annual initiative hits home for Flames forward, who lost grandfather to disease

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- Scotiabank Saddledome will get a makeover from red to lavender when the Calgary Flames host the Ottawa Senators on Friday (9 p.m. ET; SNF, RDS2, TSN5).

Lavender, the official color of Hockey Fights Cancer, will be featured prominently throughout the game.

The color brings instant significance for Flames right wing Troy Brouwer.

"It makes you realize that even though you're playing hockey there are more important things than hockey," Brouwer said. "People's health is one. Family is a huge thing. The whole NHL, I feel, does a great job. Every team does their night for cancer awareness and Hockey Fights Cancer. It's great to be a part of. I'm glad that the NHL is recognizing it and trying to raise funds for cures."

The cause is one near to Brouwer, who lost his grandfather to cancer.

"He lived in Mexico," Brouwer said. "When he retired he wanted to get a sailboat and sail around the world. He did that. He ended up stopping in Mexico and loving it there in Puerto Vallarta. I didn't see a ton of him.

"But once he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he [came] up and stayed with my parents and me. He lived with us for the better part of two years. I really, really got to know him. I miss him every day. What he went through … I was at home the day everything happened.

"I was at his bedside when he ultimately passed. He's somebody that I'd love to have back.

"Unfortunately he passed from cancer."

Brouwer also wears pink laces in his skates in October as a reminder.

"For me, it's a way I can show my support in that certain way, and just give everybody support," he said. "It's a terrible thing that they have to go through, and nobody should have to go through it alone."

In support of Hockey Fights Cancer, Calgary's rink boards also will be switched to lavender. In addition, select players will sport lavender-colored tape on their sticks.

Every player will wear the Hockey Fights Cancer helmet decals as well. It's all being done to help bring continued awareness.

"I think it's definitely the one disease that affects the most people in every situation," Flames center Matt Stajan said. "I don't think there's anybody that hasn't had to deal with a friend, family, or someone they know having to battle cancer. Everybody is up for the challenge. The NHL does a great job, and our team does a great job, of bringing awareness.

"But it's something that's always there and continues to be there. I think the more and more money we raise and awareness we bring, you're hopefully getting closer and closer to a cure for everybody."

The Flames are going beyond décor.

Proceeds from the Calgary Flames Foundation 50-50 raffle sales and Hockey Fights Cancer apparel during October will be donated to Hockey Fights Cancer. Last season, the Foundation's 50-50 proceeds directed more than $25,000 to the cause.

The Flames also have partnered with the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation for a special pregame ceremony that will recognize five children who are cancer survivors or continue to fight to become survivors.

Brouwer witnessed one such ceremony when the Chicago Blackhawks hosted their Hockey Fights Cancer night at United Center on Monday. The Blackhawks worked with Make-A-Wish Illinois to have five children battling various types of cancer on the ice during a pregame ceremony.

He was present for another as a member of the St. Louis Blues last season.

"It's one thing for adults to have to go through it," Brouwer said. "It's an even worse situation for children to have to go through it. Those kids are all so brave. We did a walk with some kids last year in St. Louis. I walked with a little girl named Janet. She ended up passing away … I think in March.

"It's just a terrible situation, kids not being able to live their lives and their childhoods being in and out of hospitals and doing treatments and not just being able to be kids. We have to do something to be able to find a way that this isn't a problem going forward.

"There's nobody that isn't affected by it."

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