ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Rochester Grizzlies are gearing up for their annual ‘Pink the Rink’ game on Saturday. The team knows it has a tough challenge ahead with the North Iowa Bulls in town, but Saturday is about something much bigger.
The team will be partnering with the Mayo Clinic to raise money for cancer research in order to find a cure for a disease we’ve all been affected in one way or another.
“I was about four years old and my grandma passed of skin cancer, so it’s always kind of been in my life at a young age knowing that she passed,” said Paul Hofbauer. “Then, probably two years ago my grandpa passed of cancer – same side of the family, and a couple months after that my uncle Rodney died.”
Standout sportscaster Stuart Scott once said, “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” For Hofbauer, the sport he loves has been his escape from cancer.
“Just keeping my mind busy and when I’m out here at the rink playing hockey, I know I can just let everything else go and kind of focus on what I’m doing and the process of it.”
Last year, the Grizzlies raised in the neighborhood of $14,000 for cancer research. This year, the team hopes to do it again.
Two of Luke McKinch’s grandparents have had cancer and he is committed to fundraising efforts that may lead to a cure.
“Just the impact it could have across the world – not even the country, that cure would save a lot of heartache for some families,” McKinch said.
The Grizzlies will wear special uniforms that will be auctioned off after the game. T-shirts will also be sold throughout the night with proceeds going to the Mayo Clinic.
Jesper Hofling’s grandmother survived breast cancer in 1981 and now participates in multiple fundraising efforts aimed at finding a cure.
“I think that’s everyone’s goal is to cure cancer,” Hofling said. “It’s like the worst kind of sickness to have right now so that would be huge.”
“I definitely think that fundraisers and anything that we’re putting back into our community and the Mayo Clinic is huge and yeah, maybe one day they’ll figure it out.”
Puck drop on Saturday is scheduled for 7 PM at the Rochester Rec Center.