When Jordan Coccimiglio and the men’s hockey team take the ice against McGill this Saturday, they’ll be doing so in memory of a former Queen’s student.
Carley Allison passed away earlier this year after a lengthy battle with clear cell sarcoma. The second annual men’s hockey charity game this Saturday takes on a more somber tone than the contest last season, which was held in support of her ongoing treatment. Allison sang the national anthem that night.
The Carley’s Angels Foundation created in her memory provides financial support for families with terminally ill children who need assistance paying hospital bills and other expenses. This season, Allison’s anthem from her appearance at a Toronto Maple Leafs game on Hockey Night in Canada will be played in her honour.
Coccimiglio, a third-year forward, and Meaghan Taylor, ArtSci ’16, are the two main student organizers of the second Puck Cancer fundraising game. Coccimiglio and Taylor have been working on the game since June, with proceeds going to the Carley’s Angels Foundation and Princess Margaret Hospital’s research initiatives.
Although Carley is certainly the focus of the event, the organizers are hoping their reach is as wide as possible.
“We want to make it a community event, attracting anyone that’s ever had cancer of all types,” Coccimiglio said. “We don’t want it … [to be] about one form of cancer. We want everyone on campus coming together.”
The Gaels come into the game with an 8-3 record while McGill is ranked first in the country at 12-2.
As one of the team’s biggest rivals, Coccimiglio knows first-hand the importance of a victory in the contest. The Redmen knocked Queen’s out in the second round of the playoffs last year while also beating them twice in the regular season. However, Coccimiglio believes the team has improved enough to bring the Gaels closer to defeating their rivals.
“We have a competitive team this year,” he said. “It should be a good game.”
With a goal of raising $10,000, Coccimiglio and Taylor have their work cut out for them. But they’re not in it alone.
“It’s been a long process, but everyone’s been very helpful,” Coccimiglio said. He praised his teammates, men’s hockey head coach Brett Gibson and sponsors for their involvement in the process.
As students get into the game for free, the organizers have found creative ways to fundraise through sponsorships, with the hope of drawing students to the game through a number of giveaways and contests.
Corporate sponsors have been in abundance, the most notable being Air Canada, which has offered two free tickets anywhere in Canada to the winner of an in-game paper plane toss. Boston Pizza has also donated a pizza a month for a year to the winner of the raffle.
On top of their offers, Head Coach Gibson sent in Ottawa Senators tickets four rows behind the bench for the Dec. 27 game against Boston Bruins as part of the raffle as well.
Though Carley’s story is known only to a few, the cancer that took her life is familiar to many.
“Cancer’s touched everyone directly or indirectly,” Taylor said. “Carley has touched thousands of people’s lives through her singing and her positive outlook on life. It’s not only a personal game in her memory, but it’s a personal game for everyone on the ice and in the audience.”
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