As we get towards the end of November and into December, we saw the mustaches come out and the beards getting longer. It’s all a part of “No Shave November” which is an initiative to spark conversation and raise awareness for cancer. It also ties into Hockey Fights Cancer month around the NHL as each team hosts one throughout the month. The Flyers did that when they took on the Calgary Flames.
Hockey Fights Cancer has held a special meaning to the Flyers since Oskar Lindblom was a part of the organization. He had been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in December 2019. Both Ivan Provorov and Kevin Hayes talked about the impact it has had on the room and how this is just one of the ways that they are able to spark a conversation on something that affects everyone around the world.
Rasmus Ristolainen wasn’t on the Flyers when Lindblom was diagnosed, but he did spend one season with him. He could easily tell how much this month meant to the locker room, even after Lindblom’s departure.
"“I noticed it last year too and this year. A little more special here and when you go to the rink, you see the fans. And last year when Oskar was here, how much it meant to him and for the guys and for the fans. It is a little more special here.”"
It holds even more meaning to Kevin Hayes, who has had cancer hit both his mother and father. So everything the NHL does to bring awareness can go a long way in the end.
"“I can almost guarantee that everyone in this league has been affected by it to some certain degree. It’s a small little thing the NHL does with the jerseys and I think it goes a long way. Everyone knows it’s a horrible disease, it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. For me, it hits home a little but because both my parents had it. I think it’s a really cool situation that the NHL does that brings awarenesss and really try their hardest to make sure fans of the league know that the NHL cares about it and do their best to shed light on it.”"
Scott Laughton is another player that has had cancer hit close to home as well. He has lost both of his grandparents to it, one of which happened this past summer. So it’s something you want to be able to do to show your support and keep a conversation going.
"“I think everyone’s been affected with cancer with either their family or friends or someone close to them. It’s something that I’ve always held pretty close to me. I lost both my grandparents to cancer, one this summer actually, so it’s something that’s very close to me and something you wanna do.”"
The Flyers have also seen other teams hold their own HFC nights, one of which was when they faced the Montreal Canadiens. It was a touching evening as each player was called to the bench to escort a young child affected by cancer onto the ice. The Canadiens dedicated that night to the children of Leucan, an association that has spent over 40 years promoting the recovery and well-being of kids affected by cancer and support for their families as well.
It included a league-wide initiative in which teams around the league held a moment of silence prior to the start of play. It was Montreal in particular that John Tortorella thought was very well done.
"“Montreal was very touching to be as far as how they did it. Starting players were getting the kids to come out on the ice. I thought it was very well done. Other places too, but that one really hit home with me.”"