Story by Crysta Paganelli, The Saint Reporter
Photo courtesy of Andris Visockis
For the first time, the Aquinas Men’s Hockey Team is partnering up with Purple Community at Van Andel Institute to host an event “AQ Hockey Fights Cancer.” This event’s purpose is to raise money for cancer research for Purple Community at Van Andel Institute and full profits made through t-shirt sales, chuck-a-puck and other activities will go to this organization. Student Hannah Acosta is interning with the Purple Community and created this remarkable event.
“This internship has been one of the most rewarding experiences because I know every dollar raised is going straight to the labs. It’s being allocated to researchers who work tirelessly everyday in order to bring us one step closer to a cure, to prevention methods, and so much more.” Acosta stated.
Alumnus Hugh Ingalls who now owns his own business, “Ingalls Pictures,” graciously worked with Hannah Acosta to create an incredible promotional video to raise awareness for this event. Ingalls was the student who petitioned to create a Men’s Hockey Team at Aquinas and in 2012 it became a reality. Two current players, junior Graham Gates and sophomore Domenic Fusco that were included in the promotional video, also had some great thoughts to share about this event. For these two men, as well as the rest of the team, their big focus is to win this game, as it is a big league game, however they realize this game is different than others.
“There will be some differences between this game and others we have played this year,” said Gates. “On the ice, while we are playing, there is an understanding that this is a critical game for post-season position, but also there will be an understanding that this game is much more than just a game. It is two schools coming together as a hockey community fighting cancer together as one”
This game is more than just about winning or losing. It is about coming together as a community to raise money for a great cause.
“No matter what happens this game we are playing this game to promote the fight against cancer and hope to keep it a tradition going on. A game that can show the support for Van Andel Institute and all they do in cancer research,” Fusco said.
“The biggest take away for the event is awareness. I hope they realize how widespread cancer is. I hope they walk into the rink and see the tribute wall filled with icons that have names of loved ones who have passed, names of survivors, and names of supporters,” exclaims Acosta. “I hope they start to ask questions, visit the institute and maybe they’ll even be inspired to host their very own Purple Community Event.”
The event will take place during the Aquinas vs. Hope Men’s Hockey game this Saturday January 30 at Southside Ice Arena at 7:30p.m. As the Saints take on the Dutchman they have high hopes of a victory both on the ice, and for cancer research.