Playing hockey to raise funds

Katie
Katie Brickman
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Pink in the Rink returns on Sunday

The Bert Hunt Arena will be decorated in pink and the Bantam Female Warriors are doing their part to help raise money for breast cancer research.

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For the third start year, the team will have their ‘Pink in the Rink’ game when the Regina Cougars visit (12:15 p.m., Bert Hunt Arena) on Sunday.

The organization of this game was done entirely by the athletes — all in Grades 7, 8 and 9.

“This is a pretty big event and they are excited,” said Jocelyn MacLeod, coach of the Warriors. “They have been in every single planning process, so they are pretty pumped.”

MacLeod was part of a similar movement in Nova Scotia when she played varsity women’s hockey with Saint Mary’s University. She and her peers sat on an athletic council and decided they wanted to give back to the community.

Having known someone with cancer, the initiative for Pink in the Rink was built.

“One of the girls that played varsity hockey for New Brunswick got breast cancer for a second time and she was only 19,” explained MacLeod. “We brought that up to the athletic council and we thought that would be the best way to start fundraising money because breast cancer is a common cancer.”

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation states that breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in Canadian women over the age of 20 and that one in four women cancer diagnoses are breast cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canadian women, after lung cancer.  

When MacLeod came back to Moose Jaw and starting coaching the Warriors, she wanted to get her team involved in the community.

“I thought it was such a great community connection between the athletes, but also, it was a great team building — knowing you are working together for a common goal, not to just win a hockey game, but for something that is of value to your community,” she stated.

Players were responsible for writing donation requests, writing press releases, contacting and speaking to the media, and approaching businesses for donations and other duties.

In the first year, the event raised just over $2,000. In the second year, they raised $3,000.

“This year we are looking at raising $3,500 as our goal,” said MacLeod.

The statistics are staggering, as one in nine women are expected to develop breast cancer during their lifetime and one in 29 Canadian women will die from the disease.

Although many of the athletes on the Warriors are young, some understand the effects of cancer.

“I think for some of them, it sinks in more than others,” said MacLeod. “That would be for the ones that cancer has touched their lives and they do see it as a reality. Not all of them understand the severity of cancer or know someone with the illness.”

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