When the nearly 200 Wildcats Hockey Club players hit the ice to open their season this weekend, they did so clad in the pinkest of pink jerseys.
That’s a pretty bold statement from a group of kids playing in such a tough sport. But, it’s done with good reason.
All 13 teams in the Wildcats Hockey Club agreed to participate in the month-long “Wildcats Hockey Loves Moms: Shooting for a Cure 2011” awareness event. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Wildcats efforts also coincide with the National Hockey League’s Hockey Fights Cancer awareness campaign.
The Orange County Register, Oct. 30, 2011:
Ice rink awash in pink for moms with cancer
Wildcats Hockey Loves Moms: Shooting for a Cure 2011
OC Community Network
Anaheim’s Wildcats Hockey Club Wearing Pink
Backcheck’s blog, Oct. 31, 2011
Hockey Fights Cancer gets a new look
Players in the competitive travel-hockey program range from age 4 to 14 and reside in cities across Southern California. The Wildcats Hockey Club is one of four youth travel-hockey programs in Orange County competing in the USA Hockey-sanctioned Southern California Amateur Hockey Association.
The Wildcats Hockey Club’s awareness initiative is the concept of Alana Dauphinee, a 40-year-old Costa Mesa resident who is currently being treated for breast cancer. The Dauphinees have three sons playing for the Wildcats.
The magnitude of her medical battle hit her oldest son, Liam, while he was on the ice participating in a hockey camp this summer.
“I noticed a boy wearing pink skate laces and I asked him why,” said Liam Dauphinee, who plays on the Wildcats 1999-birth-year Pee Wee A team. “He told me his mother had breast cancer, and I told him that mine did, too. He looked at me and asked: ‘did your mom die, too?'”
That interaction was part of Alana Dauphinee’s motivation for implementing the Wildcats breast cancer awareness event. But, there was more.
“Our kids are privileged to have so much time, energy, and resources placed on hockey,” Alana Dauphinee said. “I think it’s important for our kids to understand that there are things in life that are more important than playing a game. “The Wildcats Hockey Loves Moms campaign is designed to raise both breast cancer awareness and money to be donated to a local breast cancer charity. We also aim to recognize the unique and valuable role moms play in the great sport of youth hockey, by actively supporting our young players who may have a mother, close friend or other relative diagnosed with breast cancer.”
This is believed to be the first time a Southern California Amateur Hockey Association club has participated in an awareness event of this magnitude. In fact, the Wildcats reached a special agreement with SCAHA providing dispensation from strict jersey rules so that players can wear the pink jerseys for home games at KHS Ice Arena in Anaheim, and those SCAHA contests played on the road from San Diego to Bakersfield.
Fundraising related to “Wildcats Hockey Loves Moms: Shooting for a Cure 2011” will come from the sale, auction, and raffle of pink ribbon related merchandise, and autographed and collectible hockey paraphernalia. Tickets and items are being sold at a table set up at KHS Ice Arena on game days during the month of October.
Wildcats players will wear the pink ribbon jerseys for all five weekends of competition in October. The SCAHA regular season began this weekend and runs through March 2012.
Wildcats teams were given the option of wearing the pink jerseys or selecting other activities to raise awareness. But all 13 teams — ranging from the cross-ice Mini Mites to the Bantam A squad — opted to take the most-visible route.
Individual players have also taken to adorning their skates with pink laces and wrapping their stick blades in pink tape.
“It’s very impressive to see the kids participate with such enthusiasm and maturity,” said club president Ben Frank. “Having played hockey from a very young age myself, I knew the level of appreciation our players have for their moms. But, I have been moved by the personal stories of our players who have been touched by this disease’s impact on a loved one.”
More information is available at http://www.wildcatshockey.com or http://www.facebook.com/wildcatshockey.
About Wildcats Hockey Club:
Wildcats Hockey Club is an innovator in cultivating elite hockey players with a focus on character development on and off the ice. Wildcats hockey endeavors to develop players from start to finish, promote from within, exhibit loyalty to our families, and be guided by the core values of being: ethical and transparent; loyal; a standard setter in elite and developmental hockey; and innovative.
The Wildcats are based in Anaheim, CA and participate in the USA Hockey-sanctioned Southern California Amateur Hockey Association. Thirteen Wildcats teams compete in divisions ranging from Mini Mites to Bantam. Club president Ben Frank played AAA hockey, Ontario Junior “A” and Canadian Division I collegiate ice hockey, and has more than 15 years of experience coaching and instructing hockey players in camps, clinics, and team play.