Tri-City Americans visit the Cancer Center before game - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Tri-City Americans visit the Cancer Center before game

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KENNEWICK, WA - Every year for the last 14, the Tri-City Americans take one night where they play for more than just a win. Their jerseys go from red, white, and blue to having shades of pink. Even the ice goes from white to pink as well. It's all part of Breast Cancer Awareness Night.

''It's always a special night," said Mike Williamson, Americans Head Coach. "There's usually a lot of fans there. We have the pink jerseys and the pick ice. It's a way to help with the awareness, I guess. Everybody has been affected in some way, shape, or form with people a lot of times very close to us. Anything we can do to raise that awareness and help identify it is a good thing."

On Thursday the Americans took a step away from the ice and into the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, where proceeds from Saturday's game go. It's here where players got a chance to learn about the latest cancer treatments.

''I think coming to somewhere like this kind of puts things into perspective," said Jordan Topping, Americans Forward. "I think Saturday night is going to be a huge night. It's big for a lot of people. We're going to do our best to kind of fight and battle for all those people out there.''

The trip to the Cancer Center hits close to home for Goaltender Patrick Dea, who lost his aunt to lung cancer back when he was in middle school.

''It definitely impacted my family," Dea said. "We were all really close with her. It was definitely a sad day and it still affects us to this day. I know I write her initials on my stick. On the back of my helmet, there's a little quote with her initials as well. When I'm playing, I'm always trying to play for her. Like I said, it really impacted us for sure.''

For the players - like Dea - getting a chance to step away from the game and into the center is a great learning experience. They say it adds that much more to Saturday's game.

''Everyone at some point in their lives have been impacted by cancer, whether it's through family or friends. For me personally, it's a big deal. It's really important," Dea admitted. "I think anything you can do to help people get through it, everything is definitely big. Our game Saturday night is a big way to show our appreciation to everyone who is battling cancer. Hopefully it will help find a cure eventually."