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Abdelkader, Miller join MSU's pros for charity

by Christy Hammond / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT -- Red Wings forwards Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller will join former Michigan State players in the second annual “Skate with the Pros” event on Wednesday, August 18, at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing.

Admission is $10 per person, with every dollar collected going to Sparrow Hospital’s “Cure Kids Cancer” program and to Brandon’s Defense Foundation. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to skate with several professional players after Wednesday’s Pro Camp session from 5-5:45 p.m. An autograph session will take place on the north concourse following the skate at 6 p.m. Posters with pictures of the participating players will be provided to all attendees for autographs.

Admission bracelets will be sold for $10 per person starting at 4:15 p.m. at the East and West entrances of Munn Ice Arena (on Chestnut and Birch Roads). Bracelets will be required to be on the ice or to participate in the post-skate autograph session. Skate rental will also be available for $2 per pair.

For the safety of everyone involved, pens and markers will not be allowed on the ice, and fans are asked to refrain from requesting autographs until the autograph session on the concourse following the skate. To ensure that all participants can get through the player autograph line, each bracelet-holder will be able to obtain one autograph per participating pro player. Both Abdelkader and Miller were closely involved with Sparrow Hospital during their playing years at Michigan State and remain committed to the fight against pediatric cancer as professional hockey players.

In 2005, Miller started the Spartan Buddies program, which brings MSU student athletes to Sparrow Hospital to visit with pediatric patients. Abdelkader began the Shoot for a Cure initiative in January 2008 as an offshoot of the Spartan Buddies program. Since its inception, Shoot for a Cure has raised more than $30,000 through chuck-a-puck at MSU home games, silent auctions and a visit from the Stanley Cup in the fall of 2008.

“The fight against children’s cancer is one that is very personal for many of us,” Abdelkader said, “and I have never heard ‘no’ from one of our current guys or our alums when we have asked them to donate memorabilia, dedicate time for a fundraising event, or even just visit the hospital to try to brighten a child’s day. Skate with the Pros is a fun event for all of us, and we’re hoping for a great turnout in year two.”
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