October is Hockey Fights Cancer Month in the NHL. The movement, which began in 1998, brings all of the teams in the league together to raise awareness and money for cancer-related organizations and research. In addition to league-wide promotions and purple apparel, each team hosts its own Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night.
Teams and their arenas go purple for the night and raise tens of thousands of dollars with the help of their fans. To date, more than $12.8 million has been raised. This year’s charitable partners include:
- The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS)
- Prostate Cancer Canada
- ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer
- The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The campaign is a massive undertaking each year, and it falls during an especially busy time. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many sports teams plan pink game nights to support that cause. With NHL arenas going purple, and NFL stadiums going pink, it’s tough to find any regular color schemes in the sports world this month.
Initially, my PR mindset thought it would have been more effective for the league to simply jump on the bandwagon of pink ribbons. There’s already a certain level of awareness there, and there are plenty of opportunities to piggy-back off of other national campaigns. However, I’m starting to think that’s the problem with October these days. So many companies are slapping a pink ribbon on items just to make money.
Hockey Fights Cancer is refreshing. Not only because it throws a splash of purple into the month, but also because it highlights other cancers and brings awareness and funding to forms of cancer that don’t receive the same amount of national attention.
My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and I will sport pink ribbons forever in her honor. It’s important to me to speak up about that disease and ways it can be prevented. But my stepfather is fighting and surviving leukemia right now, and blood cancers are also something we need to talk about and raise money for. So I’ll be wearing purple this month, too.
Keep an eye on the teams that still have their awareness nights coming up. They’re likely to have some ridiculous promotional giveaways and maybe even some hockey players in outrageous suits (i.e. Evander Kane). But more importantly, take the time to click on one of the links above and learn about the NHL’s charitable partners. Educate yourself about a type of cancer you’re not familiar with. Commit to a healthy practice that will cut down your risk of cancer in the future. Share what you discover with your friends and family. Help us all to win the fight against cancer.