Black and blue.
These are the colors most people associate with the game of hockey.
But for the past 14 years, the Idaho Steelheads hockey team adds pink to their color palette for one weekend during the regular season.
The Steelheads’ weekend-long Pink in the Rink promotion raises money for the St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI), the region’s largest provider of cancer care.
Mar. 9 and 10, Steelheads players wore pink and black jerseys for their games against the Wichita Thunder at CenturyLink Arena.
The game-worn jerseys were available for fans to purchase through a silent auction, with proceeds going to cancer research and patients. By Saturday night, six of the jerseys had been sold at a maximum price of $1,500 each, and even more money was raised though other jersey sales.
The Steelheads and St. Luke’s have raised more than $185,000 in the last decade and a half.
The silent auction isn't the only special part of the event.
Amy Henning had a big smile on her face as she enjoyed Saturday night’s game.
And why not? She’s a Steelheads fan who’s beaten cancer, works at MSTI as a patient access specialist and got to drop the puck in a ceremony before the game.
“I work at the front desk (at MSTI), and welcome all the guests coming in, and I try to make everybody feel comfortable,” Henning said. “I don’t blab it to everyone I see, but when the timing is good and someone needs a little encouragement I’ll say, ‘Hey, did you know that I went through this, too? I’m doing great now, and I know you can do it, too.’”
Steelheads President Eric Trapp is pleased to partner with St. Luke’s MSTI every year.
“It’s just nice to partner with someone like St. Luke’s and give back to the community through our jersey auctions,” Trapp said. “We deal with a lot of charities, and St. Luke’s always brings a lot of volunteers. It’s always great to work with them.”
Renee Hawkins, director of breast care services at St. Luke’s MSTI, was impressed by the attendance and rally of support.
“It’s been sold out both nights this weekend,” she said. “People just rally around this cause. … This community just wants to help, and we have a great relationship with this hockey team.”
Chris Langrill is a writer and copy editor for the St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing department.