Last night’s game meant a lot more than just a fun hockey outing between the Buffalo Sabres and the New Jersey Devils, as the Sabres organization celebrated Hockey Fights Cancer Night inside First Niagara Center.
The appropriately lavender-colored jumbotron played vignettes throughout the night of Sabres players and staff members as they shared pictures or recounted stories of loved ones they knew affected by cancer.
Among some of the most touching were Marcus Foligno speaking about his mother, who he lost to breast cancer six years ago, and Mike Weber sharing a story about he reassured a nervous, but courageous young patient he was once visited.
The Sabres players donned lavender-colored jerseys and used sticks with purple tape on them during the pregame warmups to commemorate the night. Following the game, then, the jerseys were put up for auction online, with the proceeds being collected for charity. Additional auctions for Sabres autographed memorabilia and experiences will run all week on auctions.NHL.com to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Fans who attended the game had the chance to purchase paraphernalia that was only being sold inside First Niagara Center. New Era Cap Company provided special Hockey Fights Cancer hats that were sold before the game and throughout the second intermission, with all revenue being donated to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The hats were autographed by Sabres players, and were sold by the players’ wives and girlfriends throughout the arena.
Last year, the Hockey Fights Cancer Night was made unforgettable in Buffalo when Sabres color commentator Rick Jeanneret and NFL hall of fame and former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly came out to center ice to perform the ceremonial puck drop.
This year, the puck drop was done by a few more few brave participants. 18 patients of Carly’s Club at Roswell Park lined the ice to initiate the pregame faceoff, all while being serenaded with a thunderous ovation by the First Niagara Center crowd.
The night was capped off with the always powerful, and always moving moment in the third period where fans in attendance came together to raise “I’m fighting for __” placards to show their support for a loved one who had been affected by cancer.