Hockey teams up with Komen this weekend

By James Cantagallo

Hockey is giving back to the community.

For the first time, the NIU hockey program has teamed up with Susan G. Komen Passionately Pink to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer. The fundraiser will be held during the Div. II hockey games versus the University of Illinois.

“Susan G. Komen is thrilled to have the NIU Hockey team getting Passionately Pink and raising money to help end breast cancer…,” said a member of the Passionately Pink Team at Susan G. Komen through email. “Donations from the Huskies’ efforts will help support our national work, which includes funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit — more than $790 million to date.”

The games will take place at 7 p.m. Friday and at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.

“We thought this would be a good way to do a community service type project,” said general manager Ian Kalanges. “We thought this would be a cool event that would be for a good cause and be very unique.”

The team will wear pink jerseys in support of the cause. After the game Saturday, all of the players’ jerseys will be auctioned off in a live auction.

“Something that will definitely push it will be the auctioning of the jerseys because no one really has access to our jerseys. They are exclusive to the team only,” Kalanges said. “We thought this could be a huge draw and we can make a ton of money for a big cause.”

Brian Pickett, assistant general manager and Div. II defenseman, hopes to raise about $100 per jersey.

To go along with the jersey auction, during both games there will be a jersey raffle and a donation box upon entry to the arena. The raffle tickets will be sold to the first 100 participants at $10 apiece for a chance at an honorary pink jersey with the number 00 on it. Pickett hopes to raise more than $3,000.

“It’s a hockey game, but it brings everyone together for one common goal,” Pickett said. “We are all playing hockey, having fun, but in reality there are other things going on that affect peoples’ lives. We as an organization and hockey team are happy to help that goal.”

Players and coaches in hockey program are excited for this weekend.

“It’s something we have been planning and looking forward to,” said Chuck Rinaldo, the Div. II head coach. “It’s a great cause, it’s something that we are very passionate about and we are hoping the community and the school will come out to support and help us raise some money. Overall the weekend will be great for the fundraiser and the program.”

Kalanges hopes for a big turnout and is ready to see all the hard work put into the fundraiser come to fruition this weekend.

“This is a great cause to support and there are people close to the team that this has been something that’s affected them,” Kalanges said. “I just thought this would be a great thing for me to personally give back to the community and getting the team involved in this, everything as a whole. I am just happy we were able to make it happen.”