Thunderbirds host annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night

Thunderbirds host annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 11:27 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -The Springfield Thunderbirds held their annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night.

The event hit close to home for many in attendance, including one of the players, who honored his beloved cousin.

“When there’s a player-specific cause like this, a lot of the guys really rally around that. And they want to try to help, as much as possible, to raise money and raise awareness for the cause,” said Nathan Costa, president of the Springfield Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds hit the ice Saturday night not only looking to add another “W” to this season’s record but also to support a good cause.

The team hosted their fourth annual Hockey Fights Cancer game at the MassMutual Center.

This year, the game has a deeply meaningful connection to Thunderbirds’ winger, Will Bitten.

His cousin, Martin Piche, passed away last year after a seven-year battle with brain cancer. Saturday night, the team honored Piche, his legacy and showed their support for all those still battling the disease. Players also showing support by wearing these special jerseys in pregame warmups.

Western Mass News spoke with some fans who shared with us their personal connection to the cause:

“Personally, I lost my dad to cancer 14 years ago, lung cancer, he was diagnosed in April and he passed by August…I think its great that they do this event every year to raise money for cancer awareness.  i work in medical, so it does mean a lot,” said Dorene Damours of Springfield.

“My mother actually passed away in ‘95 and I actually didn’t know tonight was specifically a big cancer night but super happy to support it and it means a lot,” said Adam Feldman of Southwick.

Even some of the team’s youngest fans coming out to show support for the cause and their message to those still battling.

“You can do it!” “You got this! you’re amazing!” said Ariana Simmott and Tess Kane.

The special warm up jerseys that the players wore tonight will be up for auction to raise money for the brain tumor foundation of Canada.  The merchandise sold at tonight’s game as well as the proceeds from tonight’s raffle will support local cancer-based charities.