Seeing Bruce Boudreau step out behind the bench sporting a limited edition purple tie in honor of Hockey Fights Cancer was a tip-off that Saturday was going to be a very special night. The Caps went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 7-1, but the greatest story of the night started before the puck even dropped.
Caps players warmed up wearing one-of-a-kind jerseys with their names and numbers outlined in purple, the signature color for cancer awareness. At the end of warm-up, each player autographed his jersey and handed it over for a silent auction that ran throughout the game.
As game time approached, fans gave a roaring standing ovation for 12-year-old cancer survivor Anthony Holley, who looked shocked and nothing short of ecstatic to be shaking hands with Nicklas Lidstrom and Alex Ovechkin before participating in a ceremonial puck drop.
Fans watching at home may have noticed commentators Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin wearing the same tie as Boudreau and the rest of the Caps coaching staff (how embarrassing under any other circumstances!). Meanwhile, fans at Verizon Center stopped by a table on the lower concourse to learn about the organization that stood to benefit from the night’s fundraiser: Flashes of Hope.
The scene around the silent auction table was wild, with bidding escalating quickly during both intermissions. All told, the silent auction raised $28,225, with the highest bids going to Ovechkin, Tomas Vokoun and a sweet electric guitar signed by the entire 2011-2012 Caps team. Even backup goaltender Dany Sabourin’s shirt netted a cool $450 for the cause. For a full run down of the auction results, check out Capitals Outsider.
The Caps’ participation in Hockey Fights Cancer was impressive, and when asked about his tie after the game, Bruce Boudreau spoke to the importance of the cancer cause not only to him personally, but to the team and the broader hockey community.
“It’s obviously for a great cause,” Boudreau said. “My dad died of cancer so anything I can do to support this cause, we will, and everybody on the team thinks the same thing... it’s something that [for] hockey family in general, it’s near and dear to everybody’s hearts.”
To learn more about Hockey Fights Cancer, visit www.hockeyfightscancer.com, and for more information about the Caps' chosen charity, Flashes of Hope, visit www.flashesofhope.org.