SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many American Hockey League teams have joined in the cause to increase awareness and raise funds for charities devoted to research and helping those affected by the deadly disease.
- The Portland Pirates participated in a bottle drive, collecting bottles and cans that will be converted into cash and donated to the Maine Cancer Foundation.
- Several members of the Chicago Wolves will be using pink sticks during warm-ups prior to their game on Oct. 24. The sticks will be autographed and made available at a silent auction on Oct. 26, with proceeds benefiting the Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization and other local charities.
- Fans at Hamilton’s game vs. Manitoba on Oct. 21 received pink thundersticks and had the opportunity to purchase pink Bulldogs hats, with proceeds supporting the new diagnostic assessment unit at the Juravinski Cancer Centre.
- The Hartford Wolf Pack are auctioning off a pink stick signed by several members of the New York Rangers, including Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan and Henrik Lundqvist, at their game on Oct. 26.
- The Toronto Marlies are hosting Pink Ribbon Night on Oct. 27, with players sporting pink skate laces and commemorative helmet stickers. An auction of autographed Marlies sticks and jerseys will help raise funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
- The Springfield Falcons are participating in the Rays of Hope Walk on Oct. 28, raising funds for breast cancer research and patient services in western Massachusetts.
- The Hershey Bears are asking fans to wear pink to the Giant Center on Oct. 28, when they will be wearing special warm-up jerseys to be autographed and auctioned off for the American Cancer Society. Four practice-worn pink helmets will also be up for raffle.
- The Syracuse Crunch are also encouraging fans to wear pink to their game on Oct. 27. In addition to giving away 2,000 pink T-shirts, the Crunch will raising funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure through raffles and chuck-a-puck sales. Local affiliates of the Komen foundation will also be benefiting from proceeds of ticket sales from Breast Cancer Awareness Nights hosted by the Lowell Devils (Oct. 27), Grand Rapids Griffins (Oct. 28) and Houston Aeros (Nov. 2).
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AMERKS, BEARS RENEW RIVALRY … The two longest-standing members of the American Hockey League, the Hershey Bears and the Rochester Americans, went head-to-head in the regular season for the 431st time on Saturday night. It was the teams’ first meeting since Nov. 20, 2005; the clubs did not meet in 2006-07, the first time that happened since Rochester joined the league in 1956.
Hershey earned a 3-1 victory on Saturday, improving to 199-179-53 all-time. The teams have also squared off in seven postseason series, including the 1965 Calder Cup Finals (won by Rochester).
SPECIAL FEATS ON SPECIAL TEAMS … First-year North American pros Alexander Sulzer and Andreas Thuresson scored shorthanded goals in Milwaukee’s 4-2 win over Iowa on Friday… Rockford has scored three power-play goals in a game three times already this season… Hartford was 1-for-15 on the power play and Toronto was a perfect 17-for-17 on the penalty kill for the season before the Wolf Pack went 2-for-9 in Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Marlies… Houston snapped an 0-for-27 slide with a power-play goal in Friday’s 6-5 shootout win over San Antonio.
ETC. … Manchester’s Gabe Gauthier leads the AHL in scoring with 11 points (3g, 8a) in six games, while teammate Teddy Purcell is the league’s top-scoring rookie with 10 points (2g, 8a)… Manitoba forward Colby Genoway and Worcester rookie Nate Raduns both finished the week on four-game goal-scoring streaks… Mike McKenna won back-to-back shootouts for Portland over the weekend, stopping all 10 combined attempts by Manchester and Springfield… Quad City defenseman Tim Hambly has scored three goals in five games this season, matching his output from 2006-07 when he played 67 games… Jeff Taffe recorded his third career AHL hat trick – and first since Dec. 21, 2002 – in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s 6-1 win over Bridgeport on Saturday… Grand Rapids has drawn a capacity crowd (10,834) for every home opener in the franchise’s 12-year history, including all seven seasons in the AHL… Albany snapped a five-year winless streak against Manchester with a 5-2 victory on Friday night; the River Rats had been 0-11-2-1 against the Monarchs since their previous victory on Dec. 6, 2002… Chicago is off to a 4-0-0-0 start for the first time in club history… Norfolk saw 12 different skaters record at least one point in Friday’s 5-1 win over Binghamton… Binghamton captain Denis Hamel collected his 400th career AHL point with an assist vs. Hershey on Oct. 13.