Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer kick-off event in Vancouver on Friday

We at PITB have a longstanding anti-cancer bias. That may be a controversial stance, but we’ll stand by it. Cancer sucks. But actions speak louder than words; fortunately, there’s a way to take action that involves playing hockey. Tomorrow at noon, the Canadian Cancer Society will be launching Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer for 2012 in Vancouver at Rogers Arena.

Pretty much everyone in the world has been touched by cancer at some point in their lives. For me, it started with my older sister Feather, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 23 years old. She overcame the disease, but it had a profound impact on her life. To her credit, she turned it into a positive, embarking on a public speaking career and inspiring other women in their battle with breast cancer. Her website has more details on her fight with cancer and the actions you can take for early detection of breast cancer.

I was only 11 years old when Feather was diagnosed and didn’t fully understand what was happening. All I knew is that I might lose my big sister and it was terrifying. But I can’t even imagine what my wife went through when she was just a little older than I was.

My wife lost her father to colon cancer when she was 13. A dearly loved pastor, he was, by all accounts, a profoundly good man who didn’t deserve to be taken away from his family and the community that he served so faithfully. My wife had to spend her teens without her father there to support her. Fortunately, he had done such a wonderful job as a father in their time together that she had a firm foundation to work from.

It breaks my heart that my son will only have one grandfather and that I will never get a chance to know the man who helped my wife become the strong, beautiful person she is today.

The more that we can learn about cancer, the sooner we can detect it and find ways to defeat it. If we can learn more about cancer, fewer fathers will be taken away from their families and fewer young women will have their lives turned upside down. If cancer can be conquered, then children won’t have to be terrified of losing their loved ones.

The Canadian Cancer Society started Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer last year in Toronto and it was a phenomenal success. This year is Vancouver’s turn, as the streets of Vancouver will host a dawn-to-dusk fundraising event on October 13th, featuring innumerable road hockey games, musical acts, celebrities, interactive exhibits, and food. The event in Toronto raised $2.4 million for the fight against cancer; let’s make sure that Vancouver beats that record this year.

The event will be officially launched tomorrow, February 17th, with a game of road hockey at noon next to the Roger Neilson memorial statue. The game will feature Canucks alumnus Darcy Rota, the golden pipes of Squire Barnes, a number of local celebrities, cancer survivors, and Pass it to Bulis.

That’s right, Harrison and I will be participating in the road hockey game, because we have apparently been mistaken  for local celebrities. Since our love of road hockey is well known (we have an official women’s road hockey team, after all), we jumped at the chance to battle cancer with some street shinny.

Everyone is invited down to Rogers Arena to cheer on the players, hear some testimonials from cancer fighters, and enjoy some refreshments. As a minor (very minor) side benefit, you can also meet us. We’ll be the black guy with glasses and the white guy with a mohawk and beard. If that doesn’t help you recognize us, we’ll also be mediocre at road hockey.

Road hockey is awesome. Conquering cancer is even more awesome. Combining the two: the awesomest. Come out at 12:00 tomorrow to support the cause.

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  1. BeCanucks
    February 16, 2012

    Great cause! I would dream of meeting you both! There is just that slight twelve-thousand-kilometers thingie who’s going to be a pain in the a** and prevent it.
    Or, do you plan to be on tour in Europe?

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  2. SteveB
    February 16, 2012

    I was diagnosed with the other NHL in ’93 and went through 6 months of chemotherapy.
    Cancer sucks.
    A big thanks to those who fight it.
    One day it will only be a memory.

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  3. Deb
    February 16, 2012

    Will be with you in spirit. Not long ago, I entered the most traumatic period of my life, as my mother and father both battled cancer at the same time (in their early 70′s). Dad would make it, but Mom succumbed to the dreadful disease of brain cancer.

    What a wonderful cause…if I didn’t have to work I’d suit up (?) and join you. Good work, folks.

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  4. Canucksfan
    February 16, 2012

    This is awesome! I will be there in spirit! My uncle is currently battling cancer. It started in his bladder and has now spread to his abdomen and shoulder. His prognosis is extremely bleak but we’re all trying to stay postive. I actually signed up to volunteer for the Cancer Society last week – anything to help out.

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  5. Brentals
    February 16, 2012

    Good Luck and play hard guys! This year marks my 30th anniversary of beating the disease when I was only a youngin’. I’ll be riding to conquer cancer this year, and next year will definitely check into this awesome event! Kudos PITB!

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  6. JS Topher
    February 16, 2012

    If I can make it work, my son and I will be there!

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  7. madwag
    February 17, 2012


    goodonya! i’ll be refereeing youth soccer so won’t be there. hope it all goes well.

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  8. Grandpa68
    February 27, 2012

    Great Cause! I lost my wife in 2010 to Ovarian Cancer and I continue to play ball hockey at 67.5 years of age with the “young guns” and also guys in the senior bracket. I would love to participate if there is a master’s group.
    Grandpa 68

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