On Thursday, November 29th, 2018, the North Jersey Avalanche hosted their 3rd annual Hockey Fights Cancer event at their home facility, the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ. The goal of the evening was to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society through three charity hockey games, featuring premiere
midget teams at the 15P, 16U, and 18U levels — the Avalanche 15P and 16U teams played against Selects Academy at South Kent School, and the Avalanche 18U team played against Virtua. Proceeds from the evening totaled more than $67,000; over
the course of three years the event has raised funds exceeding $167,000, all of which were donated to the American Cancer Society. Funds were raised through a combination of ticket admissions, donations, 50-50 raffles, silent auctions for a variety of donated items and sports memorabilia, and chuck-a-puck. The Avalanche and Selects Academy wore custom jerseys made specifically for the evening, featuring names on the back of their jerseys of individuals in their lives who have been affected by cancer.
Additionally, the event held significant weight for the Avalanche Organization, as a defenseman on the 15P Avalanche team, Maurice Campbell, was diagnosed with cancer in early August of 2018. Over the past few months, Maurice has battled through several rounds of chemotherapy while remaining current in his schoolwork along with attending nearly all Avalanche games, including many practices. Maurice will undergo two surgeries in December of 2018 prior to beginning what all hope to be the final stages of his treatment before he returns to the ice at full strength and cancer free. Maurice took the ceremonious puck drop alongside Sandy Krykostas, a
father of a player on the Selects Academy 18U team, who has been battling cancer for several years. Alongside them stood Ice House managers, Rob Bakos and Dan May, both of whom themselves are cancer survivors. Stephen Cavanaugh and other local representatives from the American Cancer Society were in attendance, and spoke of the importance of such events bringing awareness and a sense of community to a disease that has affected everyone.
The evening was made possible with the amazing support of the hockey parents who generously donated items for the silent auction and who volunteered their time to make the event a huge success. Enormous thanks must be noted to Dan and Monica May and the Avalanche Organization, the Cimino family, the Rossi family, the
Marsella family, the Gratton family, the Calafore family, the Posma family, and the Branch family — in addition, Coach Mark Lotito, Coach Vinny Smith, Coach Larry Robbins, Coach Jamie Cahill and the entire Avalanche coaching staff as well as Coach Jared Beech and the coaches from Selects Academy. Events such as this
demonstrate the importance and closeness of the hockey community and its ability to transcend the happenings of the ice and connect with the world outside of the rink.