(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush is once again gearing up for their seventh consecutive “Pink at the Rink” game, presented by Diamond Roofing, scheduled for Saturday, January 24th as the Rush close out a weekend series against the Wichita Thunder.
“This is a very special event and one that is marked on the calendar every season for the Rapid City Rush Organization,” said Rush Head Coach and GM Joe Ferras. “This is a disease that has touched everyone in one form or another, so anytime you can raise money or awareness to help fight this it becomes a priority. This has always been a high-profile charity event for the organization as well as the community.
“In conjunction with our loyal fans, corporate sponsors, and season ticket holders, the Rush organization has raised well over $200,000 over the last six years,” added Ferras, “All of this money has stayed local to help within our own community, which is very important to all of us.”
The annual game honoring those who have fought, those still fighting, and those who have unfortunately lost their lives in their battles with breast cancer, has brought great awareness to the cause to eradicate this disease. According to the ECHL Offices, it was in the 2005-06 season that the game took flight in the league, and it has been a mainstay ever since.
“The ECHL applauds the efforts of the Rapid City Rush in their upcoming ‘Pink at the Rink’ promotion,” praised Brian McKenna, commissioner of the ECHL. “Over the past seven years, ECHL teams, in cooperation with fans and sponsors, have raised over $2.3 million for cancer-related causes, including research and awareness.
“‘Pink at the Rink’ allows our teams to assist in a cause that impacts the lives of fans and citizens in all of our markets,” McKenna continued. “We wish the Rush much success with this year's event and encourage Rapid City fans and sponsors to attend the game and support this very worthwhile cause.”
The Rush players will wear specialty jerseys, sponsored by Diamond Roofing, to be auctioned off following the game, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Rapid City Regional Hospital Foundation, an organization that is set to eclipse the $1 million dollar mark in fundraising for local cancer research.
“This is my sixth year of involvement, and I have to say it’s a great sight to see how positively the effects of these efforts impact the patients we’re trying to help,” stated Shawn Powers, Project Coordinator of the Rapid City Regional Hospital Foundation. “Our efforts to help these patients really started to blossom in 2007 at the Rapid City Stock Show with our ‘Tough Enough to Wear Pink’ campaign, and adding the Rush’s ‘Pink at the Rink’ game has really helped out.
“The money we raise is locally utilized for the purpose of cancer patient care and treatment,” continued Powers. “We are set to surpass $1 million in money raised for this cause, and it is all because of the generosity of the Rapid City community.”
The game also features in-game donation periods that take place at every media timeout until $10,000 is raised. If the donations surpass $10,000, then select players will shave their heads to honor those battling breast cancer: just another of the many traditions taking place, furthermore increasing the significance of the game for the players.
“As someone who has been with this organization for the last seven seasons, you feel a sense of pride after attending and being a part of this game,” Brandon Schumacher, Assistant General Manager of the Rush said. “We are lucky to have a generous fan base, and it’s great to see our community support others in need without hesitation. It not only makes you proud to be part of this team, but of this town as well. It is my hope that we raise more this year than we ever have before, and knowing the high character that Rush fans possess, I am confident that we will accomplish that.”
Over the last six seasons, between the annual post-game jersey auction, the in-game donations, and other events, the Rush helped raise $235,530.59 in the fight against breast cancer, with last season’s donations reaching $48,292.88.
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