Alex Ovechkin stands next to 12-year-old cancer survivor Anthony Holley during the national anthem. (Photo credit: Ned Dishman)
Cancer affects millions of people every year and is truly an awful disease. So on Saturday night, while the boys in red battled the Detroit Red Wings, the Caps held Hockey Fights Cancer Night, joining in a league-wide program to raise money for cancer research and treatment. During warm-ups, the team wore special jerseys with Hockey Fights Cancer patches and lavender outlining around the names and numbers, representing the official color of the initiative. The sweaters, which were signed by their respective player, were then auctioned off to fans at the community relations booth.
In addition to raising some cash, 12-year-old cancer survivor Anthony Holley was honored during the ceremonial puck drop before the game. Admittedly nervous, Anthony appeared on CSN Washington before being asked to throw it back up to the booth. He did — only to “George and Craig.” Well, close enough. Speaking of the broadcast team, Joe B. and Locker both wore special Hockey Fights Cancer ties, along with radio voice John Walton and Caps bench boss Bruce Boudreau. Mike Green (through Green’s Gang) and Alex Ovechkin (though Ovi’s Crazy 8′s) also donated tickets to cancer patients and their families.
“It’s obviously for a great cause,” Boudreau said after the game. “My dad died of cancer and it’s the only thing I can do to support this cause. … It’s something that [for] the hockey family in general, it’s near and dear to everybody’s heart.”
As for the jersey auction, it a was a big hit. The booth was crowded with fans wanting to make bids — or at least gawking at what some others were able to drop (Ovechkin’s was nearing $2,000 with plenty of time to spare). The money will go to the D.C. chapter of Flashes of Hope.
One of the purchasers was Fred Candelaria — long-time Caps fan, ringer of cowbells, and RMNB reader — who now adds a signed John Carlson dud to his collection.
“I’ve always been a fan of the blue-line,” Mr. Candelaria told me. “Carlson: American born player; got to love that. Number two: it’s really for a good cause. A very good friend of mine was diagnosed and successfully was cured — at least in remission. I’m very much a supporter of Hockey Fights Cancer.”
Another jersey winner was Ann Collins. A big Matty P. fan (quite a night for him on Saturday), she just had to get his jersey. There were tense moments toward the end as she was afraid someone might swoop in and bid far more, but ultimately Ms. Collins was victorious.
“It was a wonderful donation,” Ms. Collins said. “It supports the Caps and it support cancer research so I’m happy to do it — and I love Matty Perreault!”
Since the bidding was pretty frantic at the end, the Caps weren’t really sure exactly how much they raised (well, it was “a lot”). We do know, however, that you would be hard pressed to find a better cause for the money to go to.
UPDATE, 10/25: According to the Caps, the team raised $28,225 with the jersey auction. Ovechkin’s jersey fetched the most, netting $2,025.
Alex Ovechkin sporting the special jersey…. (All photos by Chris Gordon; click to enlarge.)
Which was later signed by the Great Eight!
A man places a bid for Marcus Johansson’s sweater.
Ms. Collins reacts after winning the auction for Perreault’s jersey.