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Stick it to Cancer competition division names announced; will honor cancer victims and survivors

04/05/2017, 4:15pm CDT
By Barclay Kruse, Chief Communications Officer

Annual hockey tournament at Schwan Super Rink April 7-9 will raise funds to fight breast cancer

Blaine, Minn. (April 5, 2017) – Organizers of the Stick it to Cancer hockey tournament this weekend at the Schwan Super Rink at National Sports Center in Blaine announced the names of the cancer victims and survivors who will be honored with their name on a competition division.

Several years ago, tournament organizers started naming the competition divisions after family and friends of players who had passed away from cancer. The tournament now also honors cancer survivors. Honorees are nominated by participants in the tournament.

Many teams sport pink uniforms, worn once a year at the Stick it to Cancer tournament.

The annual Stick it to Cancer hockey tournament, April 7-9, is now in its 19th year. Fifty-seven teams will compete in this all-female tournament, with both youth and adult divisions offered.

Here are the tournament division honorees:

  • Women’s B1: Jody Anderson
  • Women’s B2: Sue Schmidt
  • Women’s B3: Kayleen Larson
  • Women’s C1: Lori Jo “Flash” Geshel
  • Women’s C2: Diane Koenig
  • Women’s C3 American: Sarah Till
  • Women’s C3 National: Heidi Wells
  • Women’s Collegiate: Brittney Bobrowski
  • Girls’ 19U: Lori Dorff
  • Girls’ 16U: Sara Connell
  • Girls 14U: Mama Ruthie
  • Girls’ 12U: Cindy Koerner

Jody Anderson is unique among the honorees. She was the original inspiration for the creation of the tournament in 1999, and she is honored annually. Her friend Nan McDonald wrote the following tribute to Jody, that explains how the tournament started.

“Jody passed away in 2000, a Saturday morning before Easter.  We started the Stick it to Cancer tournament the year before she died, in 1999, as a fundraiser for her battle. It was to support her family, as her treatment brought her down to Texas, a long way from family in Minnesota. 

“She attended (proudly bald and strong) and was so happy to see everyone playing and was surrounded by love and support.  Her mom told me she was as happy as she was at her own wedding.

“She fought hard to make it back for the second tournament but passed away about a week before.

“Jody's spirit is alive and living on at Stick it to Cancer. Everyone loved Jody and we continue to play to honor her fun spirit.”

Jody’s son R.J. Anderson, who played hockey for the Gophers from 2005-2009, will speak at the Stick it to Cancer Opening Ceremony Saturday.

Over the nearly two decades the tournament has been held, a total of $763,000 has been donated to breast cancer research. For the most of those years, the beneficiary has been the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, and this year’s donation will go to the same organization.

“Hockey’s a very competitive sport,” says tournament director Kristina King. “When you play hockey, your goal is to win the championship, to win the game. A tournament like this ties in a greater purpose, and gives people a bigger perspective on life.

“It’s rewarding to see people come together for a cause. They’re still playing a competitive sport, but the most important aspect isn’t winning the game, it’s helping people raise money, or to honor people who have passed away.”

Another unique aspect to the tournament is that the referees and supporting officials work for free, essentially donating their fees to increase the cancer donation.

This year’s tournament has several new features:

Open Public Skate on Saturday from 12 noon-1:20p.m. All proceeds from the public skate will be donated to the Masonic Cancer Center. Skate rental will be available.

Opening Ceremony on Saturday from 1:30-2:30 p.m., on rink 4. Parade of teams. Special guests will be Dr. Douglas Yee, Director of the Masonic Cancer Center and R. J. Anderson, son of tournament inspiration Jody Anderson.

Celebrity Game on Saturday from 2:45-3:45 p.m. on rink 4. Featuring ex- or current Division I and III college players from St. Cloud State, Bemidji State, Minnesota State Mankato, Minnesota, Union, Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Penn State, New Hampshire, Harvard, Dartmouth, UMD, Wisconsin, Lindenwood, St. Anselm College, and Vermont. One of the players committed is Hannah Brandt, a Gopher alum, who is currently playing for the USA Women’s National Team at the World Hockey Championship in Plymouth, Michigan. Brandt will rush home after the World Championship medal games on Friday night.

Other tournament features:

Bake Sale on Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Silent Auction will be running from Friday at 5 p.m. through Saturday at 9 p.m.

Raffle drawing will be held Saturday at 8 p.m. Ticket sales will start Friday at 5 p.m.


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