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Stars join in Hockey Fights Cancer night

by John Tranchina / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars may have suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to Nashville at home Saturday night, but believe it or not, there are more important things in life.

To that end, the Dallas Stars Foundation and the club’s annual Hockey Fights Cancer night proved to be the real winner on Saturday, highlighting the life-and-death battle that affects every one of us.

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As part of a league-wide initiative for the month of October, the Stars recognized several charitable organizations for their efforts in combating cancer and at the same time, raised a lot of money Saturday night that will go to groups who help families affected by the disease and groups who are dedicated to finding for a cure. 

“We had a very successful Hockey Fights Cancer night,” declared Lora Farris, executive director of the Dallas Stars Foundation. “I want to thank all the different organizations that came out, everyone from the players and the coaches and the Dallas Stars’ staff, for making this a great night. All the money that we raised tonight will be distributed among the different charities.”

That is in addition to the $10,000 check the Foundation already presented on Oct. 16 to the  Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on behalf of the NHL and Hockey Fights Cancer.

Among the groups represented at different tables throughout the concourse at the American Airlines Center Saturday night were Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, Children’s Cancer Fund, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, No Walker Left Behind, Susan G. Komen, PanCAN, as well as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The Dallas Stars Foundation itself was also a presence on the concourse, featuring Stars’ players’ wives and girlfriends, each wearing pink Stars jerseys autographed by their husband/significant others. Those jerseys were then auctioned off during the game.

The players showed their support for the cause by using lavender or pink tape on their sticks during warm-ups before the game and wearing ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ decals on their helmets. Center Mike Ribeiro even kept pink tape on the butt end of his stick throughout the game. 

Because practically everyone has been touched by cancer, the players were eager to rally behind the cause enthusiastically.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of people that cancer ties very close to,” noted forward Steve Ott. “My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so I try to do a lot of fund-raising if I can or chip in for charity work through different cancers, especially breast cancer. I think it’s great that the league does this, it’s such a cause that everybody’s affected somehow, some way - grandparents, relatives, friends, family, it goes on and on. 

“It’s definitely something close to my heart and makes me excited when I get to tape my stick pink and I know my mother feels the same way.” 

Additionally, Stars coaches, executives and even the broadcast team of Ralph Strangis and Daryl ‘Razor’ Reaugh, sported lavender ties throughout the evening. 

“We get maybe a little caught up in the fact that maybe we’re a little upset that we lost a one-goal game - it really means nothing in the grand scheme of things,” coach Marc Crawford admitted. “Those battles are life battles and your heart goes out to people that are dealing with it. We’ve all had family members - I had an aunt that died of cancer, it was a real tragedy, and to see them suffer, it’s very hard. It’s very hard on people that you love to see them lose people that they love, and cancer is one disease that affects every one of us. 

“For the National Hockey League to really put their strength and their brand behind the fight against cancer is absolutely the thing we should be doing and it touches home with all our players. In the grand scheme of things, we’ll get over the 1-0 loss. And people that are battling with that disease, your heart and prayers go out to them and hopefully, they’ll find the strength to deal with it.”

While the game Saturday night was the official Hockey Fights Cancer night, there will still be other initiatives for the rest of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer month, as the Stars enjoy a season-long six-game homestand.

“We’ll also be continuing it at the Oct. 30 game vs. Buffalo,” Farris said, “where we’re auctioning off the sticks that the players used during the pre-game warm-ups that had the pink tape on them, so look for that and continue to support cancer and cancer research.”

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