The National Hockey League community is a great group.
You oftentimes see players punching each other in the face or slashing each other with sticks but you seldom see them come together.
Earlier this week Ottawa Senators goaltender, Craig Anderson, was granted an indefinite leave of absence to attend to what was being described as a personal matter.
Later in the week it was announced that the reason for Anderson’s leave of absence was to be with his family following his wife’s diagnosis with cancer.
It was also announced that day that Anderson would be rejoining the team, at the encouragement of his wife, for the final game of their road trip in Edmonton.
This game was an emotional time for Anderson, but he persevered and pitched a 37 save shutout for his team.
The real story however was the Edmonton Oilers organization and fans.
The Oilers coaches all wore their Hockey Fights Cancer ties to help raise awareness to the terrible disease.
Following the game the night’s second star, Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot stayed on the bench to give an ovation to the night’s first star Anderson.
The Oilers fans, despite likely not being happy their team was just shutout, stayed at the arena and gave Anderson a standing ovation as well.
It was nice to see that despite all the physicality and testosterone that runs through NHL dressing rooms the players, coaches, and even the fans were still more than willing to show their support for a player during a tough time in his life.
It is not just in the NHL that we are faced with this terrible disease.
This is one of just millions of stories of patients and their family and friends who are dealing with this reality.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, in 2012, 30.2 per cent of all deaths in Canada were caused by cancer.
It is the highest cause of death in Canada.
It is higher than heart disease, kidney disease, influenza and pneumonia, Alzheimer’s disease and Diabetes combined.
In 2016, the Canadian Cancer Society estimated that 102,900 Canadian men would be diagnosed with cancer and 41,700 will die, while 99,500 women will be diagnosed and 37,100 will die.
On average, 555 Canadians would be diagnosed with cancer every single day and 216 Canadians will die from the disease.
Many of us know somebody who either currently has or did have cancer and most of those people also know somebody who has died from the disease.
It is a terrible disease and it will be nice to see the day when a cure is available to be used.
In the meantime, seeing people stand together, even if it is just for one night to show their support for someone they may not know is a great thing to see, especially in the NHL where fighting each other is not only allowed but in some cases encouraged.