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A new opponent: Blugold women's hockey takes on cancer in fundraiser

| Denise Olson

This Saturday, Feb. 2, the Blugold women’s hockey team will be taking on two opponents when they hit the ice — the Pointers of UW-Stevens Point and cancer. If you haven’t made it to a game yet this season, this is a perfect chance to cheer for the blue and gold and support their efforts to raise awareness and money in their first annual Cancer Awareness Game. 

You’re all but guaranteed a great game of hockey, and the Blugold women would love your support.

For this team, it’s personal.

“Too many of us have been impacted by cancer, watched loved ones battle this disease. Some are still with us, others are not,” said head coach Erik Strand, “This topic is very important to our team.”

Strand lost his mother to cancer three years ago and his sister has battled breast cancer twice, so he takes deep personal pride in what his team has pulled together to make an impact for patients and families.

Senior captain Kelly Knetter began and led the efforts, collecting a wide range of donations for a raffle, and pulling in $2,000 cash gifts for special team jerseys and socks for the game, although you’ll need to attend the game to see the important additions to the uniforms.

“The jerseys were a donation from area individuals who are directly involved with the oncology field; without them this would not have been possible,” Knetter said. “They are a light pink color with our signature navy blue, and were designed by the captains and coaches. I don't want to reveal too much about them because they will be a highlight of our exciting day this Saturday.”

Raffle basket prizes include donations from individuals and businesses throughout the Eau Claire area. The contents vary from family-centered activity and entertainment items to individual use packages, items and gift certificates. Raffle tickets will be available at the game starting at 2 p.m.

All proceeds from the Cancer Awareness Game will benefit the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, an arm of the organization that campaigns for access to care like necessary screenings, preventative measures and access to treatment.

“We invite anyone and everyone to come to Hobbs Ice Center to join us for this special day,” Knetter said . “This event was put together by our entire team, not just one individual person, and it seriously took a village. Cancer has touched all our lives in some way, and as a family we want to use our game to spread awareness of prevention, early detection and treatments.”

Photo caption: Blugold women's hockey team captains, from left, Holly Turnbull, Lexi Wilson, Kelly Knetter and Monica Sjodin.