Hockey Day in America: Cancer, bone marrow transplant unites brothers

The story of Charlie and Will Capalbo isn’t over, but it’s already both heartwarming and heartbreaking. You’ll be able to learn more about their story during NBC’s coverage of “Hockey Day in America” on Sunday.

In 2017, Charlie – the older Capalbo brother – learned that he had cancer after wrapping up his senior season as a goalie for Fairfield Ludlowe High School in Connecticut. Later on Will would also become a goalie for Fairfield, and he interrupted his senior season to donate bone marrow for his brother.

If Will is unable to return later this season, then his Jan. 29 start would give him a “Hollywood” send-off, as he managed a shutout.

Not much later, the bone marrow transplant took place on Feb. 4. While it takes weeks to see how such a process goes, the Goalie Guild provided an update on Feb. 6 that appeared optimistic, and noted that renowned Washington Capitals goalie coach Mitch Korn visited the brothers.

This CT Now video report provides some additional background on the story, including comments from Will.

It’s a truly remarkable story of brotherly love, with both the goaltending and Connecticut hockey communities rallying around Charlie and Will Capalbo.

Family friend John McCormick has posted a Go Fund Me account on Charlie’s behalf, and as of this writing, it’s reached $247,749 of its $285K goal. People can buy tickets to a Bridgeport Sound Tigers – Springfield Thunderbird game on Feb. 23, with proceeds going to that cause, as well. At least one other local team showed support by wearing Capalbo Strong stickers on their helmets.

You can find out more about the Capalbo brothers’ inspiring story during Sunday’s NBC telecast, which begins at noon ET.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Yale hockey player and inspiration Mandi Schwartz loses her battle with leukemia at 23

Yale women’s hockey player Mandi Schwartz has lost her battle with leukemia at the age of 23.

Schwartz has battled the blood disease for the last two years and it’s a fight that has inspired hockey fans and people around North America. Schwartz’s story and the work that she and her family put into informing the public about the disease rallied support for her cause in hopes that one day help find a cure. After a recent turn for the worse, hopes reached their lowest and unfortunately Mandi’s battle ended today.

Mandi’s brothers Jaden and Rylan Schwartz currently play for Colorado College in the NCAA and Jaden is a first round choice of the St. Louis Blues in 2010. Jaden’s presence as a first round pick helped shed more light on Mandi’s story and the St. Louis Blues expressed their condolences to the Schwartz family today.

“From the entire St. Louis Blues organization, our thoughts and prayers are with the Schwartz family during this difficult time,” said Blues President John Davidson.

Mandi’s story has been an inspiring one and ultimately a heartbreaking one given her fate succumbing to the disease. Her efforts in raising awareness of her condition and trying to help those in her position with trying to fund research and search for donors have been brave and we can only hope that her efforts will continue on now with the battle that she brought attention to for others in her position.

Jaden Schwartz will miss rest of WJC tournament with fractured ankle

Sad news for Jaden Schwartz today, something that the young player and his family is unfortunately getting used to. The St. Louis Blues prospect and Team Canada player fractured his ankle, an injury that will sideline him for six weeks (which means that he will miss the rest of the 2011 World Junior Championships among other games).

It’s been a tough few weeks for Schwartz, as the family faced the tough news that his sister Mandi’s cancer returned after a stem cell transplant. The former Yale women’s hockey player has been fighting cancer for two years now, so this latest development must be hard for the Schwartz family to take.

Hopefully 2011 will bring better news and better health for Jaden and Mandi Schwartz because 2010 didn’t end well. Our best wishes go out to their family.