Pink the Rink benefit hockey game sets attendance record

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Viktoria Muench|News Editor
From Print [Nov. 5, 2015] Legacy

The Lindenwood women’s ice hockey team not only fought a battle on the ice against Syracuse Orange during the weekend but also pushed for breast cancer awareness during the fourth annual Pink the Rink event.

Lindenwood’s ice arena in Wentzville, Missouri, was packed Friday night with cheering students, friends and family members, who came dressed in pink to support not only the team but also the cause.

With a standing-room only crowd reported at 1,050, this year’s Pink the Rink had the largest attendance ever for a hockey game, organizers said.

Ceremonial puck drop
Photo by Kelby Lorenz
Cancer survivor and LU Health Center employee Bridget Bax drops the ceremonial first puck as LU captain Tae Otte and Syracuse captain Nicole Ferrara pose for the camera. Also pictured from left: Rick Rovak and Tracey Gellman, both representing Gateway to Hope.

Every year, a breast cancer survivor who is part of Lindenwood’s community is recognized in a ceremonial puck drop before the game.

This year’s honoree was Bridget Bax, SSM health-care medical assistant, who has worked in the student health center since 2013 and is a 5-year survivor. When asked what this occasion and the support meant to her, Bax answered, “Love.”

“It’s special to bring awareness to something that affects so many, and I feel honored,” she said.

The Lions put on a strong performance against Syracuse, keeping the score at 0-0 heading into the first intermission. During the second period, though, the Orange were able to put the puck past Lindenwood goalie Jolene deBruyn, making the score 1-0 in favor of the visiting team.

With 5 minutes left in the second period, LU tied it up when Britannia Gillanders, assisted by Rachel Weich and Carrie Atkinson,  scored.

Unfortunately, Syracuse came back strong in the third period, scoring two more goals and leaving the Lindenwood women with a 3-1 loss.

The evening still turned out a success. The money raised from T-shirt and jersey auction sales and the popular chuck a puck, raised about $3,000, organizers said. Combined with the past three years, Lindenwood has raised nearly $18,000 through the event.

This year, all proceeds of Pink the Rink will go to Gateway to Hope, an organization that arranges care primarily for women who are affected by breast cancer and are either uninsured or underinsured, according to Rick Rovak, interim executive director for Gateway to Hope.

Game shot
Photo by Kelby Lorenz
Sophomore forward Britannia Gillanders protects the puck during LU’s 3-1 loss.

Rovak said everyone at the organization, which is going on its 10th year and has helped more than 700 women in need, is excited about being part of Pink the Rink for the first time.

“We actually feel very proud and privileged to be here,” Rovak said. “We think it’s a great chance for us to get the word out about what we can do in the community, and it’s great what Lindenwood is doing for us by giving us the opportunity.”

Lindenwood forward Weich’s family has been affected by cancer, and she said that the event means a lot to her.
“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 2, and my grandma also died from breast cancer when my mom was 18,” she said.

“It’s a constant reminder every day. I have the possibility of getting it so doing stuff like this and raising awareness for the cause is very big.”

Weich said she is proud of her team and the school for participating in Pink the Rink.

“We just want to do our part and … make sure that we’re using our gifts to help the community,” she said.