Names of competition divisions will honor cancer victims and survivors
Blaine, Minn. (April 5, 2018) – As surely as spring comes to the National Sports Center in Blaine, an early April weekend at the Schwan Super Rink will go pink. For the 20th straight year, female hockey teams will take the ice and play for a higher cause.
The annual Stick It to Cancer hockey tournament, set for April 13-15, will draw both youth and adult female teams to play for a championship, but more importantly, to raise funds to fight breast cancer. Forty-seven teams will compete in the 2018 tournament, with both youth and adult divisions offered.
Stick It to Cancer teams gathered after the opening ceremony at the 2017 tournament.
Over the two decades the tournament has been held, a total of $809,723 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.”
Several years ago, tournament organizers started naming the competition divisions after family and friends of players who had passed away from cancer, or successfully battled the disease. Honorees are nominated by participants in the tournament.
Organizers of the tournament announced the names of the cancer victims and survivors who will be honored with their name on a competition division.
Here are the tournament division honorees:
College: Lori Dorff
B2: Jana Beets
B3: Patricia Klein
C1: Daniel Welty
C2: Alice Adelmeyer
C3: Lori Jo “Flash” Geshel
U16: Angela Dahl
U14: Tiffany Buonincontro
U12: Adyson Hansen
The Stick It to Cancer Tournament also annually honors Jody Anderson, who is unique among the honorees. She was the original inspiration for the creation of the tournament, back in 1999.
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, played hockey for the Gophers from 2005-2009. R.J. spoke at the Stick It to Cancer opening ceremony last year.
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.
Here are some of the highlighted special events at the 2018 tournament:
Opening Ceremony on Saturday from 12:45 – 1:30 p.m., on rink 4. Parade of teams. Special guests will be cancer researchers Danielle Renner and Emily Irey, of the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, and Chris Dorff a hockey coach who lost his wife to breast cancer two years ago and brings teams to the Stick It tournament every year.
Celebrity Game on Saturday from 1:45 – 2:45 p.m. on rink 4. Featuring ex- or current Division I and III college players. Here is the player roster for the celebrity game:
Shelby Amsley-Benzie, University of North Dakota and Minnesota Whitecaps
Alecia Anderson, St. Cloud State University
Brittney Anderson, St. Cloud State University
Lauren Barnes, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Emily Brown, University of Minnesota
Sara Bustad, Minnesota State, Mankato
Cassie Carpenter, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Hilary Crowe, Harvard University
Callie Dahl, St. Cloud State University
Allie Duellman, Bemidji State University
Anna Fiegert, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Julie Friend, St. Cloud State University and Minnesota Whitecaps
Kallie Funk, St. Cloud State University and Minnesota Whitecaps
Angela Girtz, Saint Anselm College
Samantha Hanson, University of North Dakota
Gabbie Hughes, Minnesota-Duluth
Paige Jahnke, Penn State University and Minnesota Whitecaps
Anneke Linser, Minnesota-Duluth
Margo Lund, University of New Hampshire and Minnesota Whitecaps
Sadie Lundquist, Bemidji State University and Minnesota Whitecaps
Amy Menke, University of North Dakota
Alex Nelson, St. Cloud State University
Meaghan Pezon, St. Cloud State University and Minnesota Whitecaps
Sami Reber, Harvard University
Haylea Schmid, St. Cloud State University
Lexi Slattery, St. Cloud State University
Allie Thunstrom, Boston College and Minnesota Whitecaps
Chelsea Witwicke, Lindenwood University
Grace Zumwinkle, University of Minnesota
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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