The inaugural Pink in the Rink: Frederick Fire’s Breast Cancer Awareness Game began with a puck drop at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
“Every year we try to think of a new idea for another charity,” said Leon Norris, a paramedic technician at station #2 and a player for Frederick Fire. “We wanted to do something for cancer. We’ve had several people in our department have cancer. We know that cancer is a big issue throughout our nation.”
The game, hosted at Skate Frederick, was Frederick Fire versus Wonder Women and all proceeds will go to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Health.
The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund was started by Jeff and Patty Hurwitz in 1999 after Patty was diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund website.
“Ms. Hurwitz does such an amazing job of raising money in our community not just for her fund but also for the hospital and getting our hospital the equipment,” Norris said. “She was one of the main people that started getting cancer research in Frederick so we didn’t have to go to Baltimore for treatment and whatever we can do to help her is what we’re going to do.”
The Breast Cancer Awareness Game is something they hope to continue in the future, Norris said.
“We have a plan for it,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of supplies for this year that we can use for next year … we’re ready to roll and the team’s ready to roll too.”
As for Wonder Women, Norris said that while there are no bigger supporters of Frederick Fire than their co-workers, there are also no bigger hecklers.
“Nothing would be greater than to see those girls kick our butt tonight,” he said.
Norris also gave credit to Matt Smith, a firefighter for Frederick County Fire and Rescue and member of Frederick Fire.
“He did a ton of work to get this going and to get everybody here tonight where we are and he just deserves a shoutout,” Norris said.
Katelyn Kumm was at the rink Sunday to watch the game and support one of the players on the team, Sean Wilbur.
“Research needs to be done on it,” Kumm said of breast cancer. “I know over the years … people are aware of it more and more and more so more and more research should be done for it and it’s just great to support it.”
As for what she was most looking forward to, Kumm said she hoped Frederick Fire would win.
Nita Wilbur is Sean Wilbur’s wife and Brock Wilbur’s mother. Both men play on Frederick Fire.
“They love it,” Nita Wilbur said. “They’ve been playing their whole lives and they absolutely love the sport and I’m really excited.”
Nita Wilbur also said that raising awareness and funds for breast cancer is important.
“We know a lot of family and friends, people I work with, who have unfortunately experienced breast cancer one way or another,” she said. “And I think that it’s wonderful that we’re raising money for that and so many people were interested in coming.”
Wilbur was looking forward to everyone having a good time during the game but said she hoped the girls beat the boys.
“We never get to see girl hockey players,” she said.
Stacia Hutton was also at the game Sunday and said she’s an avid firefighter and EMT volunteer and wanted to come out and support the great cause.
“It was a privilege to see that there are firefighters on one team and then women that will be fighting against them to see what kind of great game we’re going to have,” she said.
Hutton, a nurse, said any funds will help support a patient who’s going through breast cancer.
“Everything that you can do, be it financial or emotional support … anything you can do for that patient that’s going through such a horrible time in life, if you can come out and support them, it’s really where you should be,” she said.
Follow Hannah Himes on Twitter: @hannah_himes