The Buffalo Sabres will host their annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night presented by Roswell Park Cancer Institute on Saturday when they take on the New Jersey Devils.
It’s sure to be a memorable night as was last year’s event.
If you recall, that was Rick Jeanneret and Jim Kelly taking part in the ceremonial faceoff. The arrival of the two Hall of Famers from the dressing room hallway to center ice brought everyone in attendance to their feet for a loud standing ovation.
Kelly emerged from the tunnel to loud cheers and when RJ stepped out for his first public appearance since his initial diagnosis was announced five months earlier, the building truly erupted.
That night, both Kelly and Jeanneret shared that they both had been declared cancer free by doctors.
“It is a tough road, but I’m here to be able to successfully tell you, anybody suffering from the same disease or one of the same ilk, it can be beaten,” Jeanneret, the Sabres Hall-of-Fame play-by-play announcer, said that night. “And you can make it, come back and you’ll be smiling just like I am today.”
Jeanneret returned to the booth a week later and has since signed on to call games for at least one more season.
Kelly, the Buffalo Bills Hall-of-Fame quarterback, has battled cancer in his jaw since June 2013 and in September 2014, declared he was cancer free. He was happy to announce that he found out on the day of the game last year that that the results of an MRI showed that he was still cancer free.
“People wonder why I’m still here and it’s because of the fans, the people, the people that prayed, the people that sent me emails and well wishes and the cards,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t do this alone.”
Kelly is in London this week as the Bills prepare to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Hockey Fights Cancer is a League-wide initiative founded in 1998 that has raised more than $15 million to support national and local cancer research institutions, children's hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.
This year, all Sabres players will wear purple jerseys and use sticks with purple tape during warmups, and the jerseys will be auctioned off on auctions.NHL.com immediately following the game. Sabres coaches and broadcasters will be wearing commemorative Hockey Fights Cancer ties. There will also be a ceremonial puck drop before the game, so fans are strongly encouraged to be in their seats early.
Roswell Park volunteers will also be stationed at tables throughout the concourse to help fans fill out “I’m fighting for ___” placards to be held up at a designated time during the third period.
Fan will have the opportunity to buy autographed Hockey Fights Cancer hats donated by New Era Cap Company for $20 with all proceeds benefiting Roswell Park.
There will also be raffle tickets in the 100 level pavilion available for purchase for a chance to win Sabres experiences and autographed items. There will also be an online auction featuring unique Sabres autographed merchandise and experiences that will be run on auctions.NHL.com.
Flashes of Hope, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for children's cancer while honoring the unique life and memories of every child fighting cancer, will also be set up from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. near the pavilion street level elevators to give cancer survivors an opportunity to have their photo taken. Over the past four years, the Buffalo Sabres’ Hockey Fights Cancer fund has donated $20,000 to Flashes of Hope.
Hope to see you there!