2013- This year we have decided to bring our mission a little closer to home. Last year our donation went directly to the American Cancer Society. This year we have decided to donate proceeds to the Hope Lodge in Marshfield, Wisconsin. The Hope Lodge is a facility that offers cost-free lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers. For more information on the facility please check out the FaceBook page by clicking the image below:
FROM THE MAN WHO STARTED IT ALL: Gaston Leoni
Hockey for Life started as an idea in St. Joseph, MI. in February 2005.
My wife’s 40 year-old cousin Danette, (Dani) had just died in January of breast and brain cancer. She left behind her a husband & 3 young children.
Melanie, (my wife), had almost lost her Dad a few years before that to tongue and throat cancer (by the way he hadn’t had a smoke in 20+ years…). Thankfully he (Ken) is still alive today.
Shortly after Dani’s passing, a group of family members at my church wanted to start a Relay for Life team for the upcoming summer event at the Berrien County fairgrounds. Melanie and I really wanted to help as a way to fight back and remember her cousin’s life by helping to raise money for RFL. I wanted to help those who have yet to battle this awful disease, remember those who have gone on before me, and those who are currently fighting for their lives. Melanie’s Aunt Rhonda has also been getting treatment for 8 years now.
The list goes on and on – you know people too. It takes people’s lives and turns them upside down. What it all came down to for me was asking some friends that I play hockey with in St. Joe – friends to help me with a 1-game “donation” type fundraiser game. Jim Horan who is a good friend of mine participated that night and really liked this idea. He suggested that we try and make a weekend out of it at S2 Ice Arena in Oshtemo a couple of months later. So we started making plans and it was very well received! Again, our friends blessed us with a turnout of guys that made up 4 hockey teams! So in 2006 Jim & I started to plan the event a little earlier and put more thought and time into it. Like I said, the friendship that we have – between all of us is incredible, I mean these guys have supported this all the way. We raised about $3,500 in the 2006 Hockey For Life tournament (as it has been deemed). Which was the total of the 2 events we held in 2005. In 2007 word spread of Hockey For Life, and friends told friends and so on. We graduated to 8 teams and together raised almost $8,000 over a 3 day weekend for the American Cancer Society. In 2008 we shattered that dollar amount and went to 10 teams! These guys are coming from Chicago, St. Joe, MI., Kalamazoo, South Haven, Ohio, Indiana and then some!
Our goal is to continue to grow this fundraiser and to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Our hope is that we can make a difference for our families, friends, loved ones, and our children to have a life without cancer.
I would like to invite you to come out and join us for a great weekend or please donate to the American Cancer Society to further help them to find a cure for cancer by clicking on the link below.
I tell everybody – “you have to be there to understand it”. I have never been a part of a sports team or any sporting event that is as unique, or as awesome as this one. Thanks for all of your support, you guys are the best!!
I originally started Hockey For Life Milwaukee as my college internship. This year will be our second year running the tournament in the Milwaukee location. Athletics have always played a huge role in my life but I never played hockey. 4 years ago I met my husband, Mike, who has been playing hockey since he was 3 years old. Needless to say, it was inevitable that hockey would become a part of my life.
A few years ago I attended my first Hockey For Life tournament in Oshtemo, Michigan. Mike and I spent the weekend having a great time with friends and supporting a great cause all at the same time.
Like Gaston and many others, Mike and I have also seen the effects of cancer. My mother, Kate, was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 10 years old and again just last year. Luckily, my mother’s cancer was caught and she has fought it again and survived. Mike’s younger sister, Donna, was also diagnosed with cancer in 2010. Donna’s cancer was very aggressive but she fought it and won. She is healthier now and continues to fight. She is an amazing young woman who still shows an unbelievable enthusiasm for life.
This is a great event with a huge potential to raise money for a disease that cannot be cured soon enough!
Welcome to everyone! I look forward to an awesome weekend of hockey and the opportunity to meet you all!