Red Deer, AB– The Red Deer College Queens Hockey team always plays with a sense of purpose, but on Saturday night, that passion and determination took on a distinct meaning when the team hosted its third annual Pink in the Rink fundraiser, in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, the official fundraising partner of all 17 cancer centres in Alberta, including the Central Alberta Cancer Centre in Red Deer.
Once again, strong fan support was an important component at Pink in the Rink, and with the help of Scotiabank matching funds, a total of $12,035 was raised at the event tonight and on Thursday in Olds.
After 60 minutes, the RDC Queens defeated the Olds College Broncos 4 - 2 on the strength of a hat trick from RDC's Veronika Bucifalova at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. But the big winner on the evening was the Central Alberta Cancer Centre. Funds raised will help provide the best treatment and support to those central Alberta patients, allowing them to stay closer to home.
Mary Hirsch also scored a goal for the Queens. Kirsten Baumgardt had a pair of assists and was recognized as the Queens Player-of-the-Game.
Queens Head Coach Kelly Coulter felt the speed and traffic around the Broncos' net were difference makers. "When we keep things simple and move pucks into lanes where we can attack with speed we are much more effective," he says. "In our league, the goalies are very good so you have to get that secondary chance to bury it and I think most of the goals were of that variety. I thought that our pressure on the puck was better tonight than the previous night."
Coulter appreciated the community support and the collaboration between Olds College and RDC. "I don't think there's anyone on our team, or in our rink, who hasn't been touched by cancer. It's one of those nights when we can try to help raise funds to find a cure," he says. "We are proud to be a part of it and I think Olds did a good job with their night on Thursday, and our staff did a great job tonight."
Victoria Johnston, a second-year Bachelor of Science Pre-Professional Dentistry student, sees the importance of supporting this local centre. "We like to give back to the community and help people," says Johnston. "They always support us and come watch our games so it's nice to give back to them."
The fundraising initiative is an important one for Johnston. "My dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and went through chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, and is cancer free one year in November," she says.
"Giving back to the community is important to our student-athletes. From attending schools, to participating in reading programs, to raising funds for local charities such as the Central Alberta Cancer Centre, our student-athletes are invested in making Red Deer and central Alberta a better community," says Diane St-Denis, RDC Athletic Director. "This is the third year that Pink in the Rink has given back to the community that gives so much to them and Red Deer College, and the funds raised will stay in central Alberta. This year, RDC partnered with Olds College and Scotiabank to allow patients to receive the support services they, and their family require while they receive their treatments here at home in central Alberta."
The RDC Queens (2 - 2) will face-off against the defending ACAC champions, the MacEwan University Griffins (5 - 1), next weekend in a pair of games. On Friday, October 26 the Queens will host the Griffins at 7:00 p.m. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. The Griffins will entertain the Queens on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.