Illini hockey to wear pink jerseys for cancer

While the Illini hockey team is battling No. 8 Iowa State on the ice, they’ll be helping fight breast cancer off it.

The No. 6 Illini will be wearing pink jerseys for this weekend’s series to help raise awareness and money for cancer research.

During Saturday night’s game, the players’ jerseys will be sold in a silent auction with all proceeds going toward the Caitlin Bull Foundation, a foundation set up by one of Illini head coach Nick Fabbrini’s former bosses in honor his daughter, Caitlin Kemper Bull, who passed away from cancer in 2009 at the age of 20.

The team will also donate their portion of the Ice Arena’s 50/50 raffle, as well as every dollar raised by the “Chuck-a-Puck” competition during the second intermission.

Fabbrini said this is the second year in a row the Illini have teamed up with the foundation and third annual year raising money for cancer research.

For the past two years the event has taken place in January, but moving the annual benefit to October both makes the event more timely, happening during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It will also hopefully bring in a large crowd to witness Illinois’ first big match up of the season.

“I think any weekend playing here is a pretty special experience,” Fabbrini said. “It gives us something a little bit extra and I think the fans feel like they’re a part of something bigger too.”

Starting goaltender Nick Clarke’s jersey sold for $350 in last year’s auction, the most of any player on the team.

“He was pretty proud of himself after that,” Fabbrini said, laughing. “I don’t think the low-bids get too much of a hard time, but then again I’m not in the locker room all the time, so.”

Clarke said the Illini joke about whose jersey can sell for the most money and laughed about his jersey selling for the most last year.

“It’s just a little joke,” Clarke said. “Everyone’s kind of checking to see during the game, ‘Oh, how much is mine going for?’”

Fans have a chance to bid on their favorite players’ jersey up until the final five minutes of the third period. Fabbrini said players have traditionally come out and hand-delivered the jerseys to the winning bidder.

Fabbrini said the Illini are excited for this weekend’s series, as the fans will not only experience a great game between two top-10 ACHA teams, but will also be able to donate money for a good cause.

“Last year we raised a lot of money and this year we’re hoping to raise a lot more,” Fabbrini said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to write them a big check after Saturday night.”

Sean can be reached at [email protected] and @Neumannthehuman.