Experience

Prep players fight cancer on, off the ice

Jan Garrison
 

Hockey Fights Cancer Day 

 

December 16, 2020

Four Culver Military Academy hockey players brought the fight against cancer to the Al Clark Hockey Rink during November and December. Prep players Spencer Watson (Delaware, Ohio), Blake Lewis (Carmel, Indiana), Timofey Spitserov (Istra, Russia), and Matt Loney (Highland, California) are in the middle of a combined awareness/fundraising campaign they hope will become an annual event.

The origin of the project came up in the spring while they were discussing potential senior service projects, Watson explained. The four players continued to discuss the concept through the closure of the campus and the summer.

“When we came back, although the service projects were not required, we wanted to complete ours,” he said. “The four of us wanted to leave a lasting impact on the program and begin a project that can be passed down for years to come.”

The first part of the project was designing and ordering the special purple jerseys the Prep players would wear during their two games on “Hockey Fights Cancer Day.” After they received the jerseys, the players hosted an open skate to have members of the Culver Academies community fill out American Cancer Society signs stating who they fight for.

 

Culver students signed 109 "I Fight For" signs to honor someone they know fighting cancer.

 

They then put all 109 signs behind the teams home net. “This allowed those watching online to be able to see the signs as clear as possible,” Watson said. “We then had each player take a photo with their sign and jersey.” Those photos were then turned into a video which was played during the intermissions on the livestream of the games.

Prep’s first annual “Hockey Fights Cancer Day” was conducted on Saturday, Dec. 5, with the two games streamed live at The Shack and the Lay Dining Hall. Prep won both, taking the morning game against Victory Honda, 2-1, and the evening game against Team Illinois, 5-2.

“Hockey Fights Cancer” unites the hockey community in support of cancer patients and their families. The program was founded in 1998 by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association. Since its inception, the program has raised more than $20 million to support the cancer programs of local and national cancer research institutions, children's hospitals, player charities, and local charities.

The final part of the four players’ project will be to auction off the jerseys in the near future. Profits from the auction will be divided between the hockey program so the Culver “Hockey Fights Cancer” program can continue and the American Cancer Society, Watson said.

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