Charity game unites local hockey players, cancer survivors

Richmond Hockey Fights Cancer's players and members live by the creed: “We skate for those we love, for those we lost and for those who remind us daily why we fight," according to the organization's founder and president Lee Stryker.

That message was on full display when the RHFC held its seventh annual Hockey for Hope charity hockey game June 18.

The game, which took place at Skatenation Plus at the Short Pump Town Center, pitted the RHFC team against a team of Virginia All-Stars made up of members of the Henrico Firefighters, the Sperry Maine Hockey Club of Charlottesville and other local charity organizations.

While the game was the main attraction, it was not the only source of entertainment that RHFC had to offer the people in attendance.

Throughout the evening, a wide variety of items donated by the National Hockey League (NHL) were auctioned off by the RHFC, including a puck autographed by Mario Lemieux and a hockey stick autographed by members of the Buffalo Sabres.

All of the proceeds from the game will be donated to several cancer-related charities, most notably the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer, the American Cancer Society, and the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

“We always pride ourselves that we donate almost all of the money raised to people and groups in need of assistance,” Stryker said.

The game not only raised money for the fight against cancer, but also brought together hockey players, people who have been affected by cancer, or, in Bill Lipchak’s case, some who both love the game of hockey and have survived cancer.

“I think the biggest thing that Hockey for Hope allows me to do is [not only] participate in a sport that I have been involved in for over 22 years as a coach, parent and player, [but] it’s also a great opportunity to skate in a game with other players who share my feelings and sentiments [about fighting and getting rid of cancer]” said Lipchak, vice president of RHFC and an eight-year cancer survivor.

RHFC Team Captain and Board of Directors member Robert Rossi shared Lipchak’s and Stryker’s enthusiasm for the event.

“I gladly volunteered to help for the second annual Hockey for Hope and quickly became enamored with what [the RHFC] was doing, and I have been with them ever since,” Rossi said.

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