Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hockey, Cancer, Life

October 27, 2014.  That was the last time I logged on to this site and wrote a blog post.  Why did I stop?  I really couldn't tell you, but I did.  Over the past two years there were a couple of times I thought I should write something and then I decided not to.  I'm not a great writer by any stretch of the imagination and who even cares what I have to say?

Today, for some reason I just got the "itch" to write again.  You'll have to forgive me for the "quality" as it's been a while.  On second thought,..that's not right.  I will write what I think and I will do so using the language I use every day and if the spelling or punctuation is not'll just have to deal with it.

Now for the reason for this post.  I was scrolling through Facebook, just minding my own business when I got a text message.  This message was from Twitter and it was an RT by Erik Karlsson of a tweet made by Nicholle Anderson thanking everyone for their love and support.  This tweet got me to thinking about athletes and their families and the fans who love them.

For those of you who might not know, Nicholle Anderson is the wife of Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson.  This past week, we learned that she had been diagnosed with Cancer.  We don't know what kind and that's none of our business really.  What we do know is that Craig left the Sens to join his wife and two young children during this difficult time.  He took a leave of absence and no one knew for just how long.  The next game, the Sens' backup goalie, Andrew Hammond, was hurt and with Craig gone, that would mean the Sens would be left with two minor league goalies for an indeterminate amount of time. Nicholle urged Craig to call the team's GM and to re-join the Sens the next day.   

I know how it feels to have a member of your family be diagnosed with that horrible disease and I'm not sure I would have cared about anyone outside my family at that time.  The fact that she even cared is a testament to the kind of person she is.  I've never met her and have only seen her a couple of times at the rink but what I do know is that my heart went out to her and her family when the news was announced. 

When Craig returned to the team and played the next game, you knew it was probably going to be an emotional game for him and for the entire Sens team.  I don't think anyone knew just how special it would be.  Craig posted a shutout against the Oilers in Edmonton, was named first star, and received an ovation from the Edmonton crowd.  You could see the emotion all over his face and you had to know this one was for Nicholle. 

Cancer is such a horrible disease.  Over the past few years, a few people I know have been touched / ravaged by it. 

My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and with multiple treatments was able to fight it.  He's now doing well and on Friday we're making our annual Christmas donuts.  Through it all, we haven't missed a year of making our doughnuts. :)

Last February, my friend and Sens PA announcer, Stuntman Stu was diagnosed with Leukemia and has gone through months of treatment but is now back working at the rink.  It's so nice to see him around again and he looks so good.

My good friend Lola (Laurel) was diagnosed with Melanoma, had surgery and everything looked to be good as far as I knew for a little while and then it came back.  Sadly, she lost her battle (can someone find better words for this?) in April of this year.  This one hit me hard because it was unexpected to me.  I remember the phone call telling me she was gone.  It took me a few days to process it and going to her service was heartbreaking.

For Nicholle, she's starting her battle and I am sending all my good thoughts and prayers to her and her family.  We don't know when Craig will leave again and for how long, but it doesn't matter.  Hockey is just a game and family is the most important.  I hope everyone will support him during this time. 

This Saturday November 5, 2016 is Hockey Fights Cancer night at Canadian Tire Centre.  Being a season ticket holder since 1999, I've been there for many of these and always support it.  This year is even more special in light of everything.  If you can, I hope you will support the initiative.

Nicholle, Craig, I will be thinking of both of you.  I wish I could do more to support you, but will be sure to donate to Hockey Fights Cancer this Saturday.  Take care of each other! 



  1. Well said Julie. Lola always said not to worry about what other might think, just write and people will appreciate your voice. Cancer is a freaking scary thing and here is nothing, absolutely nothing, worse than the wait, the agonizing wait, between the initial diagnosis, treatment and results conversation. Even with the exceptional medical teams here in Ottawa, those months feel like decades with some of the most heart wrenching hours in between. The fact that Craig Anderson was able to be his best is a testament to the tremendous strength in everyone in his family .