It's not uncommon to see the Sea Wolves battling it out on the ice, but they've also taken up another fight--a fight against kids' cancer. The Face-Off Against Kids Cancer program raised more than $54,000 last year for Candlelighters and Caps for Kids, two pediatric cancer charities here in the area.
The Sea Wolves are hoping to raise even more money this year, as they continue to form new friendships.
Five-year-old Gabrielle Spicer enjoys a parrot show at Marine Life Oceanarium on Sunday. She's perched next to SeaWolf Andrei Lupandin.Gabrielle giggles at the birds' stunts, but her life hasn't always been full of laughs. She was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma just before she turned three.
"Gabrielle has had such hard work to do with the chemotherapy, and Alexis has also had a hard job of being a big sister of a cancer kid." says her mother, Sheri Spicer. But thanks to the Face-Off Against Kids Cancer Program, the Spicer family has a new friend to lean on.
"We meet their family, we go off with them, play games, have pizza, go to these kind of shows. My girls here they come to the games and they wait for me after all of the games all of the time, and give me hugs," Andrei Lupandin said.
As the hockey season begins, each Sea Wolf teams up with a child in the area who has been diagnosed with cancer. They spend time together at activities like this one. Meanwhile, money is raised for the program through T-shirt sales. This is the second annual Face-Off Against Kids Cancer. But this isn't just about raising money, it's about lifting spirits.
"We're trying to get involved with the community, and help the kids out a little bit, and it's nice to see them have a smile on their face, with all of the stuff they have to go through every other day, and hopefully we can get them out of here and show them a good time." said Sea Wolf, Jason Kean.
Ian Rowland, a former cancer patient, said, "It helps kids...some who don't have much. They have friends, then they have the friends from the Sea Wolves. It's pretty nice."
Through this program, these children have gained new friends, and the Sea Wolves, life-long fans.
Face-Off Against Kids' Cancer originated here on the coast last year. Since then, 11 other ECHL teams are now participating in the program.
You can help the Sea Wolves in the Face-Off Against Kids' Cancer. Special T-shirts are being sold for just 15-dollars at the Team Store on Highway 90.
Buying this shirt will give you free admission into the March 28th hockey game and a post-game jersey party at the Beau Rivage Casino.
All proceeds will benefit Candlelighters and Caps for Kids.