It’s a cause close to the hearts of most – including Canada’s National Women’s Team.
Forward Caroline Ouellette, for instance, dedicated her gold medal performance at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games to her “Tante Claire,” a breast cancer survivor who has endured numerous surgeries and remains a source of strength and inspiration to her niece. Ouellette scribbled her aunt’s name on the dog tags issued to every player on Team Canada prior to heading to Vancouver four years ago.
As the ladies in red and white travel the road to another Olympic Winter Games, this time in Sochi, Russia, they are in the midst of a busy schedule against Alberta Midget Hockey League teams, taking on Midget AAA boys across the province to help prepare them for the ultimate goal – reclaiming Olympic gold.
That includes next Monday’s match-up against the AMHL's Calgary Flames, which features a colour more important than perhaps even gold – pink.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and free for children 12 and under, with all proceeds from tickets being donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to help further research and awareness. According to the foundation, breast cancer affects one in nine Canadian women, with about 23,800 women and 200 men across the country diagnosed this year alone.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. MT on Monday, Dec. 9, inside Father David Bauer Olympic Arena in Calgary, Hockey Canada’s former home base. It’s where Ouellette and her then teammates trained leading up to Vancouver 2010.
This season she and her current teammates have been centralized at Hockey Canada’s new home arena, the Markin MacPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park, since August to practice, train and play an intense schedule, including 30 games against AMHL teams, in advance of Sochi.
“When you think you’re having a bad day because you’re tired, because it’s hard training, well it’s not as bad as fighting for your life,” Ouellette told HockeyCanada.ca. “It brings things into perspective and makes you appreciate being healthy, and being able to do what you love.”
Next Monday’s match-up will also feature merchandise on sale in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and other special game-day fundraising activities. The “pink in the rink” event is an annual initiative hosted by the Calgary Flames of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. Please visit www.nwcaa.ca for more information on the Midget AAA Calgary Flames, and www.cbcf.org to learn more about the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Finally, to follow Canada’s National Women’s Team around the community and on its road to Sochi, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca/nwt, www.facebook.com/hockeycanada and www.twitter.com/hc_women, and hopefully we’ll see you at the rink – dressed in pink!