By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On Saturday, the Penn State women's hockey team will host their Skate for the Cure game against RIT with proceeds benefiting THON and WBCA Pink Zone at 2 p.m.
"This is what Penn State is all about," said head coach Josh Brandwene. "Being a part of Penn State is about being a part of something bigger than yourself."
The team will stray away from the Nittany Lions' traditional blue and white uniforms for this game in their attempt to "pink out" Pegula Ice Arena. The pink game jerseys are currently being auctioned off online with the proceeds and other donations set to benefit THON and Pink Zone. The team hosted a similar event last season, but used pink tape on their sticks instead of donning the jerseys.
"I think it's great that we get to show our support for these causes by wearing those jerseys and playing for a bigger purpose," said sophomore Jill Holdcroft.
Cancer has affected or taken the lives of countless individuals connected to Penn State athletics and the entire Happy Valley community. Events such as this game and THON exemplify the strength and sense of unity throughout the community in the fight to cure all forms of cancer.
"It is unfortunate that cancer has probably touched everyone's life in some way, shape or form," Brandwene said. "To be a part of something bigger than hockey and bigger than athletics--something that is so quintessential Penn State--is a great opportunity for us."
Penn Staters going above and beyond for philanthropic purposes isn't limited to fundraisers and charitable events. Just last week, men's hockey assistant captain David Glen completed a five-day bone marrow donation process to help save the life of a woman with leukemia. Glen underwent the donation after learning he was a match through the Match4Kim Drive in November 2012. The drive was held to support Kim Roper, mother of men's lacrosse player Drew Roper.
"Playing for Penn State means much more than just playing your sport," said freshman defender Kelly Seward. "You see things like what David Glen did and it shows what we are all about."
The disease has directly affected the vast majority of Nittany Lion coaches and student-athletes and some have even had cancer during their time at Penn State. Track and field assistant coach Fritz Spence successfully battled his case of acute myelogenous leukemia after diagnosis in 2008. Spence underwent bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy throughout his difficult road to recovery. He attributed his ability to recover to maintaining positive energy and the support he received from the tight-knit Penn State community.
Saturday's game will be the second contest of a two-game series with RIT. The last time these teams met, the Tigers took both games from the Nittany Lions in Rochester. This College Hockey America showdown on Saturday will serve as much more than another conference matchup for coaches and players.
"This game means a lot to me," Seward said. "Recently I lost my grandfather to cancer so I think it will be very special for me to play for this cause."
Fans will be admitted to Saturday's game at Pegula Ice Arena for free and are encouraged to wear pink to show their support for THON and Pink Zone. Puck drop is slated for 2 p.m. with a free skate on the main rink following the game.
"For me, not only as a coach but as an alum, being a part of a special event like this that benefits two tremendous causes is what life is all about," Brandwene said.