The Washington Capitals are red hot right now, beating up opponents up and down the ice this season. Now they’ve picked a new target to take on off the ice: cancer.
November is Hockey Fights Cancer Month and the team is working in a number of different ways to help raise awareness.
“It’s obviously a very important thing to the players and cool thing that the NHL does, especially the Caps,” said Capitals forward TJ Oshie. “We do a lot of stuff with the Make-A-Wish foundation.
“There’s some kids and some people out there who go through a pretty tough time battling cancer, not only them but their families. I think it’s always fun to try to steal them away from whatever they have going on and get them to a game or get to meet the kid or whoever it is and take their mind off of things.”
Oshie has been involved with Make-A-Wish since arriving in D.C. a few years ago. He still keeps in touch with a young girl he met here.
“I have a good friend, Addy Flint, who has beaten cancer for the second time and she’s doing really good,” said Oshie. “I always put Addy on my sign for who I fight for and she’s a strong little girl. I’m excited to see her cancer-free still and still enjoy being a kid.”
Oshie will again work with Make-A-Wish to grant a wish on Nov. 22, ahead of the Capitals’ Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness game on the 23rd.
“I’ve got two kids of my own and one on the way, and when it comes to kids, it’s just hard to imagine what they have to go through at that age,” Oshie said. “It’s probably one of the hardest things to go through as an adult so as a kid I can’t imagine. For me to just be able to, if I can, put a smile on their face or take their mind off the battle that they’re going through it makes it special and makes you feel like you have a little bit more of a purpose.
“It’s a great thing to do, and sometimes it’s a hard thing to do,” Oshie said. “Sometimes it’s hard to keep your emotions in check but you want to try to make a difference but that’s one way, unfortunately, that pro athletes are able to do.”
The NHL began the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative in 1998, and has raised over $16 million to support cancer research.
When the Caps take the ice on Nov. 23 against Vancouver they’ll be wearing special jerseys and helmets with the Hockey Fights Cancer decal. Some players will also have special sticks wrapped in lavender, and Nicklas Backstrom will wear lavender skate blades during the warm-ups as he honors his mother, a breast cancer survivor.
Coaches and broadcasters will also wear special Hockey Fights Cancer ties and pins that night.
The pregame on-ice projection will be hued in lavender. Lavender is worn because it represents all forms of cancer.