SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Sharks hosted some special children for their game Thursday night in San Jose. Children fighting pediatric cancer were honored as part of a league-sponsored initiative called Hockey Fights Cancer.
Every ticket holder at the game tonight was given one of these purple flags. It symbolizes the Sharks' dedication to raising money and supporting families who are battling cancer.
"I’m really excited about it. I don’t watch much hockey, but I know it’s for a good cause, and I’m really happy to be here," said Ava Maskiewsce.
Twelve-year-old Maskiewsce is fighting Hodgkin Lymphoma but says she’s still an athlete who plays soccer, football and tai quan do despite fighting cancer.
Before playing the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night, the team brought out nine-year-old Layla Malone and her family to drop the ceremonial first puck in honor of her battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Layla received her last dose of chemo on November 9th.
"For us, we definitely want to focus on children because bringing them out to a game can bring them some reprieve from what they deal with day to day with treatments and procedures. We just wanted to give them some fun, and we wanted to give their families some fun too," said Jenne' Johnson, Sharks Foundation Manager.
November is Hockey Fights Cancer month across the National Hockey League and all teams celebrate with their own night. The Sharks wear lavender to recognize the cause and the jerseys and select hockey sticks will be auctioned to raise money. Sharks fan John Menold says his mother died from cancer three years ago, but he’s been supporting the fight against cancer for 30 years.
"Cancer touches everybody. Not just those afflicted with cancer, those that survive cancer and unfortunately those that passed. But everybody knows somebody who’s fighting the fight against cancer and with your donations, with the money, with the research, we’re going to beat this thing," Menold.
If you’d like more information about the Shark Foundation and how to get your hands on one of the auction items, go to NHL Auctions.