Hockey brings people together in the month of November
Hockey brings people together. Whether it’s watching the game on TV with friends and family, banding together to cheer on your favourite team, or a parent teaching their child how to tie their skates and shoot the puck.
Hockey also brings people together through the NHL’s initiative Hockey Fights Cancer.
“Cancer is a terrible disease, that really hits home and resonates with everybody,” said Blake Heynen, the community relations manager at the Calgary Flames Foundation.
The Calgary Flames organization has supported Hockey Fights Cancer since it was created in 1998.
Each year the Flames support Movember, in which many of the players grow mustaches to raise money and awareness for men’s cancers and mental health. In addition to this, the Flames align themselves with the Alberta’s Children’s hospital.
“We recognize brave children who are going through the battle against cancer,” said Heynen.
This year, the Flames invited the young fighters and survivors as honoured guests to participate in the opening ceremonies at a game they dedicated to Hockey Fights Cancer.
“[We] make sure that they understand that we are fighting with them in the fight.”
The Flames also direct a portion of their 50/50 draw to the cause. Since 2012, they have donated $150,000.
Hockey Fights Cancer hit closer to home this season at SAIT. Jenna Patrician, one of the rookie goalies of the women’s hockey team lost a close family friend to ovarian cancer.
“It’s tough,” said Patrician.
Originally, the prognosis was that the cancer had been caught early enough. But one year later, and two weeks after Patrician visited her, she lost her battle.
“They went for scans and within two weeks of me seeing her she was gone,” said Patrician.
Two months before, a 19-year-old girl who grew up on the same street as Patrician also died from ovarian cancer.
“A 52-year-old and then a 19-year-old dying of the same cancer, it’s hard for sure.”
Patrician said she’s always believed in the Hockey Fights cancer initiative and likes how it’s not specific to just one cancer, but supports all cancers.
Through Hockey Fights Cancer, the athletes in the NHL have shared their stories and experiences with the disease.
“I have a lot of respect for the movement, it always reminds you that there is something more than what you are. There is always something more than the game. More than what you’re going through,” said Patrician.
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