University of Northern Colorado Hockey hosted University of Denver for their first theme night of the season October 12. This was the third-annual Hockey Fights Cancer night and it turned out well on all fronts.
“The whole staff believes this was the most successful theme night to date for the team” team manager Erin Prueter said.
The team put on a wonderful night for fans and survivors alike.
Walking up the stairs of the Ice Haus to the upstairs lobby led to the silent auction, cancer t-shirts for sale, and a table of various cancer ribbons for friends, family and survivors to wear.
Entering the doors to the seating there was a giant poster where fans could sign the name of a friend or loved one who has ever endured cancer.
Game time quickly approached, but the ceremony came first. One at a time honorees, or family of the honorees, came onto the ice to accept a plaque and take a picture with the player who nominated them.
All the honorees had emotional biographies of what they were fighting or had survived read over the PA system. A few honorees could not make the game due to travel limitations, including a few who were not allowed to come based on doctor’s orders for their own health.
One of the most emotional stories was of a young boy with cancer and his friend who came to support him since they are close friends who both enjoy hockey.
While the rink continued on with normal hockey functions, the lobby stayed in full swing of festivities for fans. Right next to the lobby is a party room that was reserved for the honorees with special amenities and a bird’s eye balcony view of the rink.
The game started off highly competitive with a 3-3 score between the UNC Bears and DU Pioneers after the first period.
During the first intermission the UNC Dance Team put on a special performance that excited the crowd, especially the student section.
In the lobby, the silent auction received good attention with nearly all baskets bid on before the second period started. A new addition to the festivities this year was a replica penalty box photo booth couples and kids could get their picture taken in.
The consistent perk of the Ice Haus home games is the renovated café downstairs which always has students lining up for pretzels, popcorn, hot coco and more.
Those who remained in their seats enjoyed clapping for the Zamboni driver and singing along to the 80’s classic songs. Hearing a few hundred fans singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody, all fairly in sync, is a truly nostalgic experience.
The excitement of the night was far from over. The second period yielded four goals for UNC and just two for DU. Throughout the period there was increased tension between the two teams which transpired into two distinct fights just as the clock hit zero in period two.
Brian Brink peeled off far down the ice near the west goal, where he was pummeling a DU player until they went to the ground wrestling and were eventually broken up.
Garrett Wood became involved in a second skirmish near the action with a more even matchup.
Unfortunate for UNC and DU, all of the players mentioned above will serve a one-game suspension, except Brian Brink since the referees deemed his actions more severe and will serve a three-game suspension.
Whether the crowd understood those rules or not they thoroughly enjoyed and wholeheartedly rooted on the deviance.
During the second intermission the rest of the baskets without offers gained at least one, while the popular baskets rose in value significantly.
The Bears kept the third period even by scoring two and giving up two goals. Hockey Fights Cancer night ended a fantastic night with a 9-7 win for the UNC Bears.
The total amount of donations could not be disclosed yet, but team manager Erin Prueter could comment that the total was likely to be their largest donation.
The money donated to the UNC Cancer Rehabilitation Institute will come from the t-shirt/jersey sales, silent auction, and ticket sales. A large portion of the proceeds from the night will go to the Institute whereas the other money will be used towards future event nights like Military Night on November 30th.