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Penguins players get pinked for a cause

by Brian Coe || AHL On The Beat Archive

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are one of the toughest teams on the ice. But several players showed a little softer side last week, when they had pink streaks applied to their hair.

No, this wasn’t some kind of rookie initiation, and no one lost a bet.

Once again this season, the Penguins and the American Cancer Society have teamed up to raise awareness and money for the fight against breast cancer. And instead of wearing their hearts on their sleeves, eight Pens skaters decided to show their support by getting pink highlights in their hair last Tuesday.

The "Get Pinked" program was started by stylists at Sanderson State Street salon in Clarks Summit, Pa., and was picked up by the ACS. The Pens saw the dye jobs as a unique way to get the word out about the deadly disease.

“It’s a good time,” said defenseman Ryan Lannon, who got the tips if his faux-hawk done up. “I think it was originally two or three of us that were going to do it. As soon as (other players) heard about the dye, we’re up to seven or eight.”

Lannon, Tim Brent, Joe Jensen, Connor James, Mark Ardelan, Tyler Kennedy, Ryan Stone and Dennis Bonvie took the afternoon out to have their coifs colored for the cause.

“It’s just one of those things. We have a lot of guys on the team who are willing to help out the community,” Lannon stated. “They came to us with the idea and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Fun, but at the same time, sobering. Like many people, Lannon’s life has not gone untouched by breast cancer.

“I know some friends of the family and teammates who’ve had some personal experience with it. It’s just one of those things that you never know when it’s going to happen to you,” he said. “The more time and money they have to find a cure…it’s a very worthwhile cause.”

The Penguins are running several special promotions during the month of October to help the ACS fight cancer. Pink bracelets with the inscription "Ice Breast Cancer" were given away to the first 6,000 fans through the Wachovia Arena doors prior to the Penguins-Phantoms game on Oct. 13. Fans were also able to show their support with a little highlighting of their own. Sanderson State Street employees were on hand putting temporary pink streaks in fans’ hair for a $5 donation during the game, raising $3,700 on that night alone.

Additionally, pink-taped sticks used by the likes of Brent, Bonvie, James, Jensen and Lannon during warm-ups on Oct. 13 were raffled off, bringing in another $1,800 for the ACS’s fight against cancer. Later in the month Jonathan Filewich and Bonvie will don special pink highlighted warm-up jerseys, which will be raffled off during the Penguins’ Oct. 26 and 27 home games, respectively.

This month’s activities follow on the heels of last season’s efforts, which raised more than $10,000 thanks to the likes of Matt Carkner, Filewich and Kurtis McLean. And Lannon is hoping the response this time around is just as good.

“It could be something special, not just for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins but for the community as a whole.”