On November 18, the Chicago Blackhawks hosted their annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night to support Chicagoland cancer organizations and the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. Throughout the month of November, each team hosts a Hockey Fights Cancer awareness game in front of its home crowd, with unique pre-game events, special guests and ceremonies.
As part of a partnership with Make-A-Wish Illinois, the Blackhawks also invited 11-year-old Carter Holmes to join them in their Friday morning practice a couple days before the game to skate with the team, including Carter’s favorite player, Patrick Kane. Carter, a young hockey player himself, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June but was cleared to skate on November 15, just one day prior to skating with the team.
“His biggest fear was no more hockey, which is his life. To be out there with guys skating is everything to him,” said Carter’s mother, Tricia. Carter also performed the ceremonial puck drop prior to the Blackhawks’ Hockey Fights Cancer game last Sunday.
The Hockey Fights Cancer initiative has a positive impact on the entire league each year, and meeting special guests like Carter always leaves a lasting impression on the players. “Sometimes, you’re just playing hockey and worrying about the business aspect of it. Then days like today you kind of take a step back and realize there are more important things out there in this world,” said Kane after Friday’s practice.
Prior to the game, in recognition of all types of cancer, the Blackhawks warmed up in lavender jerseys, which are now signed and available for auction, with proceeds going to cancer organizations. The Blackhawks also hosted their second annual Purple Carpet event before the game, inviting fans to cheer on honored guests whose lives have been affected by cancer as they walked into the arena.
Since 1998, the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative has helped raise more than $20 million to support cancer organizations and charities, and with nearly a dozen more awareness games left this month, there are no signs of slowing down.