Pink pride on ice as Stick it to Cancer turns 15

The 15th edition of the Stick it to Cancer women’s hockey tournament at the Schwan’s Super Rink once again help raise money to be donated to the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

To help encourage fund-raising, the two teams that raised the most money were able to use one of Team USA’s exclusive locker rooms for the weekend. The other perk came on the ice as the more money a team raised broke tie-breakers.

Warriors coach Mike Curti, second from left, watches from behind the bench during a Saturday game at the Stick it to Cancer tournament, April 20. Among the pink items, the Mound-based women’s team had the coaches wear pink-sequined hats to show their pink pride.

Warriors coach Mike Curti, second from left, watches from behind the bench during a Saturday game at the Stick it to Cancer tournament, April 20. Among the pink items, the Mound-based women’s team had the coaches wear pink-sequined hats to show their pink pride. Photo by Jason Olson

While the final official totals have yet to be tallied, as of April 22, Olsen Fish Company Elks under-14 and under-12 teams hold the top two positions with Dakota Destroyers U12 third on the donation list.

Olsen Fish Company, based in Elk River, is the three-time defending champion. The U14 team has raised $9,578 so far. The U12 Elks team has raised $6,978 and Dakota Destroyers $3,470.

Ninety-eight teams made up of seven-year-olds to players in their 60s competed in nine classes and 16 divisions. They were mainly from Minnesota, but teams from North Dakota, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada, also took part.

Members of the Olsen Fish Company Elks under-12 team were decked out in everything pink, including pink mohawks on top of helmets. The team also earned the honor of being one of the two top teams to raise money.

Members of the Olsen Fish Company Elks under-12 team were decked out in everything pink, including pink mohawks on top of helmets. The team also earned the honor of being one of the two top teams to raise money. Photo by Jason Olson

All tournament registration fees in addition to other money raised during the weekend went toward funding cancer research. Referees and administrators also donated time to help raise even more money.

Tournament Co-Director Dustin Snyder said the final amount raised wouldn’t be known for a few weeks as donations tend to trickle in well after the final whistle was blown on the tournament.

From the amount raised to date, the event should surpass the $86,000-plus collected in 2012.

April 20 was known as “Pink the Rink Day” as participants and spectators turned many items into pink to signify support for those battling cancer, survivors or memorials of those lost to cancer.

Tournament staff were easy to find as they each wore hot pink Zubaz pants.

Players used pink stick tape not only on their sticks, but one team creatively formed mohawks on top of the helmets. Other teams wrapped legs or gloves in pink tape. Some teams had specially made pink jerseys and others wrapped helmets in pink scarves. The part of the skate which holds the blade was also pink along with pink laces on more than a few skates.

Referees got into the act with pink ribbons on their uniform and some added pink laces.

Participants took out ads in a program to memorialize those affected on the team. Some players wore black arm bands if they were survivors or playing for someone who had succumbed to cancer.

Players also wrote messages on the sticks to show who they were playing for.

Fans in the stands and even coaches got in on the act.

The Mound-based Warriors Women’s CI North Division team found pink sequined hats for their three coaches to wear on the bench.

Coach Mike Curti said he enjoyed the flashy hats, which the team provided ahead of its first game.

The Warriors lost 2-1 in the championship game to You’ve Just Been Chicked.

Festivities in the viewing area included a 10-foot high hockey player made out of balloons. Local businesses supplied coupons which were inside the balloons. Anyone could purchase a balloon and pop it any way they could to find the coupon.

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