fighting cancer

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.

Today marks fifth anniversary of Phil Kessel beating cancer

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For whatever reason, Phil Kessel has been a divisive figure in the NHL when he should instead be a source of inspiration.

Just look at his rookie year: character issues were sited as he dropped a bit in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, but that hurdle didn’t compare to what happened about a month into that 2006-07 season. Kessel was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November 2006, yet he only took about two weeks to return from the surgery that resulted.

Today marks the five-year anniversary of Kessel being cancer-free, as TSN’s Katherine Dolan covers in this video.

Kessel already has an assist on a Joffrey Lupul goal, pushing his points total to an astounding 37. Obviously, that battle with a scary disease is far behind him, but it makes his amazing season that much more impressive.

Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita diagnosed with oral cancer

Most people’s lives have been touched in one way or another by cancer and the Chicago Blackhawks family is dealing with a longtime member of theirs in for a fight of his own.

The Blackhawks announced this afternoon that legend Stan Mikita was diagnosed with Stage 1 oral cancer. Dr. Richard Borrowdale of Loyola Medical Center, who is treating the Hockey Hall Of Famer, says that the prognosis is positive for Mikita to get healthy.

“Stan has been diagnosed with an early base of tongue cancer and the prognosis is excellent. He will be treated with external beam radiation therapy.”

Mikita played for the Blackhawks for 22 seasons from 1958-1959 until he retired after the 1979-1980 season. Over that time, Mikita amassed 541 goals and 1,467 points. Four times in his career he won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top scorer and he’s a two-time Hart Trophy winner as the league MVP. Mikita, along with Bobby Hull, helped lead the Blackhawks to the 1961 Stanley Cup.

Yale’s ‘White Out for Mandi’ raises over $9K for Schwartz’s fight against cancer

There have been a lot of highs and lows in Mandi Schwartz’s battle against cancer. The younger sister of St. Louis Blues’ first round draft pick Jaden Schwartz most recently received a crucial stem cell transplant, a surgery she reportedly is recovering from in Seattle.

Consider Friday one of the highs for the resilient former Yale hockey player. Yale university organized a special “White Out for Mandi” rally against RPI, generating more than $9,000 for her cause.

NHL.com has more on the heartwarming story.

The Yale University women’s hockey team and a record crowd of 1,066 jammed Ingalls Rink to pay tribute to Mandi Schwartz and her incredible two-year battle against cancer during “White Out for Mandi,” on Friday in New Haven, Conn.

“It was really special … there were a ton of former and current students and it was an incredible atmosphere,” Yale junior forward Aleca Hughes told NHL.com. “I was so proud to be associated with such an event for such a special human being. We all admire Mandi and the challenges she’s overcome — it’s just too bad we couldn’t win the hockey game.”

According to Sam Rubin of Yale Sports Publicity, the event raised more than $9,000 for Mandi and her family. Despite the fact Yale suffered a 4-1 loss to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the evening was a huge success as the players and coaches had been planning the “White Out” for weeks. Silent auctions were held for autographed Bobby Orr memorabilia and a jersey from Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Additionally, white T-shirts with Mandi’s number 17 were sold throughout the week and at the game.

The previous high attendance for a Yale women’s hockey home game is believed to be 825, for a playoff game against Princeton in March 2005.

Their opponent RPI also did their part, raising $1,000 for the event. Here are a few more details from the event.

In addition to honoring Mandi with pregame speeches from Yale teammates Alyssa Clarke and Berit Johnson, Yale also introduced the newest member of their team, Giana, a 9-year-old Yale-New Haven Hospital patient the Bulldogs have adopted. Giana, who is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor, dropped the ceremonial first puck after Yale captain Samantha MacLean accepted a check for $1,000 from RPI on Mandi’s behalf. The Engineers held a fund-raiser of their own last weekend.