BRASHER FALLS - A hockey tournament that raises money to support womens cancer initiatives at Massena Memorial Hospital and Canton-Potsdam Hospital is getting ready to return for a fifth year with a new location.
The fifth annual Droppin the Gloves on Cancer adult hockey tournament, which is spearheaded by a group of local women, will be held Oct. 18-20 at the Tri-Town Community Center. The tournament had been held at Clarkson Universitys Cheel Arena for the first four years.
This is the first year were in Brasher at our home rink. We were at Cheel for the first four years. Cheel was wonderful. You cant say enough about how easy it was to work with them. But as we got bigger, it became more difficult. We needed more ice, said Julia R. Rose, executive director of the Massena Memorial Hospital Foundation and one of the tournaments organizers.
She said that, because one of Clarksons teams would need the ice at the same time as the tournament, they decided to move it to the Tri-Town Community Center.
Last year we decided we thought we could do it in Brasher, Mrs. Rose said.
Despite the relocation, the mission remains the same - to raise money to support awareness programs and support initiatives for women in the area who are battling or have battled breast, cervical, uterine and ovarian cancer. All tournament proceeds benefit womens cancer awareness and support at Massena Memorial Hospital and Canton-Potsdam Hospital.
Over four years, it has raised nearly $33,000 through sponsorships, team fees, raffles, survivor rides and Pink Seats.
Mrs. Rose said the idea for the tournament came after a womens hockey team was formed in Brasher. She plays goalie and her husband, Christopher W., is the teams coach.
Id been after my husband to start a womens program so we could be more educated in the stands. He came to a practice and thought, Yeah, I could do this. Six or seven years ago we started a team in Brasher and hes been our coach. Within the first year, as we got more skilled, we decided we should venture out and play more games, she said.
The problem, Mrs. Rose said, is that there werent many womens teams around, so they decided to hold a tournament.
(Team member) Jodi White lost her sister to breast cancer that had spread to her liver. We thought, lets do a womens hockey tournament and support women going through gynecological and breast cancers at Massena Memorial Hospital and Canton-Potsdam Hospital, she said.
The tournament started as a womens only event, but now includes co-ed teams at the urging of some men who said they would also like to support the women, she said.
The feeling around our tournament is its competitive, but its not competitive. Its all in the name of women, Mrs. Rose said.
It features six teams - six womens and six co-ed, and referees volunteer their time.
In celebration of the fifth year, every player will get a Droppin the Gloves practice jersey as a thank you gift and every referee will get a special referee jersey, Mrs. Rose said.
One of their fundraisers is the sale of pink seats in the arena to honor those who have been touched by breast, uterine, ovarian or cervical cancer.
Its got such a nice feel to it. Its a section of pink seats. Its really powerful to look up and see those. We block off the seats and nobody can stand and sit there. We have a whole section of them. We wanted to make a visual impact statement, she said.
Seats can be reserved in a womans name for $50.
They can give me a call (at 769-4602) and I can take the information over the phone, or they can stop by the office and we can give them a form. We will be uploading the form to our website, mmhfoundation.net probably this week, Mrs. Rose said. This is a great opportunity for the foundation to get involved. We do have some board members that come and volunteer their time.
The tournament will also feature raffle tables, 50-50 drawings and she said they hope to have a small vendor fair in the upstairs warming room on Oct. 19.
And, of course, theres the hockey - all in the name of supporting the services at the two hospitals.
Its a neat little tournament, she said.