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Commissioner’s blog – Putting up a fight

Not everyone who reads this will know what it’s like doing battle out on the ice. Fans can go to our games and support our teams despite never having laced up a pair of skates in their life –  let alone haven taken a hit along the boards.

But there can be few hockey fans, indeed few at all, who have not been touched by someone’s fight with cancer.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 25 700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. This represents 26% of all new cancer cases in women during the year.

Numbers like those mean that cancer is not an abstract for most of us. It’s a battle fought by our sister, a friend or co-worker, aunt; by a parent –  and perhaps even by ourselves.

Breast cancer was the battle of Lyne Larouche of Val-d’Or.

Lynne and her husband Jeannot were one of the QMJHL’s host families, opening their home and hearts to young billets, far from home. On November 13th Jeanne lost her battle at the age of only 59. That is far too young for such a generous soul. Julien Gauthier, a teammate of her last charge, went on to score 2 goals in the recent Canada Russia series in her honour. Probably the best eulogy an adoptive hockey mom could ask for.

And breast cancer is Nicole’s battle…my sister-in-law Nicole’s battle.

The optimistic, glass-half-full sister of my wife, France, Nicole has twice-over won her battle, beating the disease back into remission. Well, her cancer has come back for round 3, and this time, it has spread…

Nicole was able to fight back before, not just through her own willpower and determination, which are formidable, but through the aid of dedicated healthcare professionals and the love and support of her family. It takes family to fight. We all need a team on our side.

The QMJHL is one big family. Like with all families there can be differences of opinion, but when things really matter, we all pull in the same direction. This past October 28th to the 30th, we held our 3rd annual Pink in the Rink fundraising weekend to raise money for fight against breast cancer.

I am happy to announce that this year we were able to raise $100,000 to combat this disease that touches all of our lives. One day, there won’t be a thing called cancer; of that I am confident. I hope that day will be soon.

Think pink every day of the year and donate what you can. Do it to honour Lyne’s memory. Do it for Nicole. Do it for you.

photo: Nicole & France, two of the most courageous women I know.

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