The USF Ice Bulls are holding their second annual Pink the Rink event Friday night at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex as the players lace up their skates to take on FAU. The team will be sporting pink jerseys, pink stick tape and pink skate laces to show support for breast cancer awareness month.
“Pink the Rink is something we started last year, it’s now going to be an annual thing,” said Daniel Hoeflich, a senior civil engineering major and captain and president of the Ice Hockey Club. “We basically just show up and we wear our pink jerseys that we check out through the university and we raise awareness for breast cancer in the month of October.”
Last year, the club auctioned off the jerseys with all proceeds and additional donations going toward the Susan G. Komen non-profit organization. This year, the team is still deciding on the charity but opted to rent out the jerseys from USF Sport Clubs rather than sell them so that the club can continue the tradition for years to come.
“Everyone at least knows somebody that’s been affected by breast cancer,” said Richard Budd a junior biomedical sciences major and goalie and vice president of the club. “My mom had breast cancer five years ago—survivor—so it’s cool to get to honor her in that way, just by wearing the pink jerseys.”
Budd is not the only player to have an emotional attachment to the game, either. Postgraduate and media studies major Will Korte’s grandmother also survived breast cancer—twice.
“My grandmother is now 90; she had breast cancer once when I was born, 23 years ago, had chemo and beat it,” Korte said. “Now just last year at 89, she had breast cancer and they were able to cut it out and she’s still going strong.”
After taking a year out between his bachelor’s and master’s degree, Korte relishes the opportunity to put on the pink jersey and play in this season’s Pink the Rink game.
“Being able to put on a pink jersey and play for something that’s bigger, more important than yourself, that’s a pretty special feeling,” he said. “I know we’re all going to go out there and give it our best, we all know somebody who’s been affected so we’re going to go out there and have fun and it’s going to be a great way to honor those we know and raise awareness.”
The Ice Bulls beat UCF in last year’s Pink the Rink game, with the help of two goals from assistant captain Huw Baveystock to defeat the Knights 5-2.
“Last year, the event went great, we had a really good turnout and we played UCF and we got to beat them,” Budd said. “The fans were really into the game, it was definitely a very exciting game.”
Sophomore and biomedical sciences major Logan Sheehan is playing in his first ever Pink the Rink game after bringing his talents to USF from UT this fall.
“This is my first ever time doing it,” he said. “It seems like a great way to raise awareness and it seems like a really exciting way to get everyone involved.”
Sheehan will not only be playing for breast cancer awareness but also for sibling bragging rights as he faces off against his brother Hunter Sheehan, the captain of FAU’s team.
“There’s more at stake for me because my older brother’s on the team,” Sheehan said. “It’s going to be kind of surreal playing against him because I’ve never played against him and we usually work really well together so I think it’s going to be interesting to see what we each do and kind of take that to the game—I’m definitely excited.”
Sheehan currently leads rookies in points with two goals and one assist after netting two against UCF. He hopes to keep his hot streak alive against FAU.
“This team has probably been the best team I’ve ever joined,” Sheehan said. “I transferred over to this new school looking for a fresh start and it’s been great getting to know the guys, I’ve made a lot of friends and it’s been really fun.”
This weekend, the Ice Bulls hope to get their first win of the season against an FAU team that they haven’t lost to since 2013. The team will play FAU again on Saturday at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex in a doubleheader.
“We’ve had kind of a shaky start—0-6,” Hoeflich said. “We have two games that I think we’ll have a pretty good chance of winning this weekend.”
The team hopes to gain some momentum as the players fly off to Michigan next Thursday, Oct. 27, before hosting FSU and Miami in the coming weeks.
“Looking forward, we’ve got a big Michigan trip that I actually think we can compete in,” Hoeflich said. “We’ve got a couple games coming up against Florida State and then Miami so we’re looking to get back on track.”
This season, the Ice Bulls’ goal is to make history by earning a bid to the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) nationals in March.
“I definitely think we’ll see ourselves well in the rankings, maybe not exactly where we want to be but I’m pretty sure we’ll be in the top 10,” Hoeflich said. “We’re looking late in the season to be in the top five, move onto regionals, do what we’re supposed to do and get a trip to nationals, wherever it is, for the first time in our history.”
Pink the Rink is Friday, Oct. 21, at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, faceoff at 9 p.m. Attendance is free so wear pink and come out to show your support for breast cancer awareness and the USF Ice Hockey Club!
The USF Ice Hockey Club also plays Saturday, Oct. 22, at Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, faceoff at 2 p.m.
For more USF Ice Hockey Club information, visit their website.
For more USF Sport Clubs information, visit our website.
By Huw Morgan-Baveystock, USF Sport Clubs Marketing Assistant