Thunderbirds preparing for ‘Pink in the Rink’ to benefit Rays of Hope

Thunderbirds preparing for ‘Pink in the Rink’ to benefit Rays of Hope
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 2:04 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Springfield Thunderbirds fans will be seeing pink this weekend with the annual ‘Pink in the Rink’ game to honor breast cancer survivors.

“It’s impactful when you look at the pink ice and it’s just a sea of pink,” said Thunderbirds Vice President of Sales and Strategy Todd McDonald.

This Saturday, Rays of Hope and the Springfield Thunderbirds are teaming up once again to host the sixth annual ‘Pink in the Rink’ game at the MassMutual Center. This year’s theme combines the last name of one of their captains, Tommy Cross, with a popular hockey term to create the slogan “Together, Let’s Cross Check Cancer,” which seamlessly blends the team into the cause.

“The Springfield Thunderbirds have been with us since they came to town and we’re really proud of the partnership. We like to say we’re family because that’s how we feel at Rays of Hope. We surround every survivor in a great big pink hug and the Thunderbirds have embraced us,” said Kathy Tobin, director of annual giving and events for the Baystate Health Foundation.

Out of tradition, the ice at the Thunderdome has been dyed pink. The rally towels are printed and ready to go for fans to cheer on survivors. The stands in the arena will soon be filled with thousands of fans waving small pink towels as local breast cancer survivors take the ice.

“When we look pregame and see 100 survivors on the side-by-side with our players and look in the stands and see how the entire community comes together to support Rays of Hope and to support the survivors on the ice and others, it’s just a special moment for us,” McDonald added.

Tobin told Western Mass News that this event allows them to create momentum ahead of the Rays of Hope Walk and Run Toward the Cure for Breast Cancer in October.

“The reality is that survivors struggle 365 days a year and it’s really important that we think about that and support them year-round, so the Springfield Thunderbirds came to us with this great idea of ‘Pink in the Rink’ and they made it possible for us to really spread the word,” Tobin explained.

Tobin added that this is cause Western Mass News viewers have been following since the beginning.

“Thirty years ago, Lucia Giuggio, the founder of Rays of Hope, was in her struggle with breast cancer and Western Mass News, WGGB-TV did a story with Lucia and followed her process and were right there from the beginning in origins of the Rays of Hope Walk and Run Toward the Cure,” Tobin said.

The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. The players will hit the ice in special pink jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game.