Ten seasons of sticking it to cancer

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA- The Minnesota Magicians and Fairbanks Ice Dogs will battle in a 3-game series this weekend at the Big Dipper Ice Arena, but both teams will look to beat a common opponent, cancer.

This annual event marks the 10th time the Ice Dogs have partnered with the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation to raise awareness of all forms of cancer, honor survivors, and raise funds in support of programs at the J. Michael Carroll Cancer Center of locally owned and operated Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

“We’re so appreciative of the Ice Dogs’ commitment in partnering with us over the last decade,” said GFCHF Executive Director and Foundation Health Partners CEO Shelley Ebenal. “The relationship allows us to raise awareness of the first-class technology and highly skilled team that provides care for our community in the wake of a cancer diagnosis. It also helps us raise money for the Circle of Hope, which provides direct benefits for patients receiving cancer treatment at here at home.”

The series opens Thursday (7 p.m. face-off) with FHP Night, a game where the stands will be predominantly filled with Foundation Health Partners employees and their family members. Each night there will be information about the JMCCC, Fairbanks Imaging & Breast Center, and Circle of Hope shared throughout the game, as well as a Circle Of Hope Table near the entry way. Cancer survivors that have received, or are receiving treatment, locally will be recognized prior to each game and will drop the ceremonial puck.

“It’s really special to have these amazing people that have fought or are fighting this disease, come each night and be recognized during the ceremonial puck drop.” said Ice Dogs GM Rob Proffitt. “It never ceases to amaze me how our wonderful community rallies together to support this event that is so near and dear to so many.”

Puck drops Friday and Saturday at the standard 7:30 p.m. Masking is encouraged and pink masks will be provided upon entry for fans to wear if they so choose.

“I’d like to encourage attendees to the games, for this series especially, to mask up,” Proffitt said. “This is one way we can support and protect our guests of honor that have sacrificed so much for their health.”

As they have the past nine seasons, the Dogs will wear commemorative Stick it to Cancer jerseys during the series, which Proffitt will auction off, via outcry, during intermissions of the three games. The Ice Dogs donate a portion of the auction proceeds to the GFCHF for the Circle of Hope program., which supports initiatives like the Hope Totes program.

Circle of Hope was instrumental in the Fairbanks Imaging & Breast Center achieving a Quality Breast Center of Excellence status through the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC). This makes FIBC the only Breast Imaging Center of Excellence designated by American College of Radiology in Interior Alaska.