Hockey for Life started as an idea in St. Joseph, MI. in February 2005...
My wife's 40 year-old cousin Danette, (Dani) had just died in January 2005 of breast and brain cancer. She left behind her a husband & 3 young children. Melanie, (my wife), had almost lost her Dad a few years before that to tongue and throat cancer (and by the way - he hadn't had a smoke in 20+ years...). Thankfully he, (Ken), is still alive today.
Shortly after Dani's passing, a group of family members at my church wanted to start a Relay For Life team for the upcoming summer event at the Berrien County fairgrounds. Melanie and I really wanted to help as a way to fight back and remember Dani's life by raising money and awareness for RFL. I wanted to help those who have yet to battle this awful disease, remember those who have died because of it, and also for those who are currently fighting for their lives.
So this all got started by asking some friends of mine that I play hockey with in St. Joe to participate and help me with a 1-game "donation" type fundraiser event. Jim Horan, who is a good friend of mine, participated that night and really liked this idea. He suggested that we try and make a weekend out of it at S2 Ice Arena in Oshtemo a couple of months later. So we started making plans and two months later, Hockey For Life began! That first year, there was a good turnout of guys that made up four hockey teams. So, in 2006, Jim and I started to plan the event a little earlier and put more thought and time into it. We raised about $3,500 in the 2006 Hockey For Life tournament. (This amount equalled the total of the prior 2 events we held in 2005.) In 2007 word continued to spread about Hockey For Life. Friends told friends who in-turn invited their friends and so on. We graduated to 8 teams and together raised almost $8,000 over a 3 day weekend for the American Cancer Society. In 2008 we shattered that dollar amount and went to 10 teams! Since 2010 we have been increasing participation as well as money raised. Players, (men and women), are now coming from all over Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Montana and then some! In 2015 we hosted an 18 team tournament ~ 200 skaters!
Our goal is to continue to grow - to help those in the midst of the fight of their life. We have been donating money to the American Cancer Society and also our child "All-Stars." Our desire is to just make a difference for our families, friends, community, and our children - to have a life without cancer.
I would like to invite you to come out and join us for a great weekend. Or if you can't make it, please donate here on our website - to fight against cancer. All of the money raised from Hockey For Life goes to our local All-Star, (and their family), and also to the American Cancer Society - to further help them find a cure for all cancer.
You have to be there to "get it." This event is truly remarkable, and you really have to come and take part in it to understand it. I have never been a part of a sports team or any sporting event that is as unique and as awesome as this one. Thanks to my brothers and sisters that have been part of this event - you all have made this what it is! Thank you for all of your support, love for others, and love of the best sport ever created...