Ottawa Citizen

NHL play­ers lace up to Krush Can­cer

Fundraiser game in sup­port of lo­cal hockey pro Chris Kush­ner­iuk

- DAR­REN DE­SAULNIERS Sports · NHL Hockey · Ice Hockey · National Hockey League · Lancaster · Philadelphia Flyers · Philadelphia · Orléans · Florida Panthers · Florida · Ottawa Senators · Ottawa · Central Canada Hockey League · Robert Morris University · East Coast Hockey League · Indianapolis · Minnesota Twins · Gatineau Olympiques · Claude Giroux · Marc Methot · Bakersfield · Fun (band) · Bakersfield Condors

If any­thing good has come out of the ridicu­lous NHL lock­out, it was the out­pour­ing of sup­port Thurs­day night at the Minto Skat­ing Club on Lan­caster Road.

Sev­eral NHL play­ers, in­clud­ing former Gatineau Olympiques’ star Claude Giroux of the Philadel­phia Fly­ers, Or­léans na­tive Erik Gud­bran­son of the Florida Pan­thers and Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors Erik Con­dra and Marc Methot were among the par­tic­i­pants at the Krush Can­cer char­ity hockey game in sup­port of lo­cal hockey tal­ent Chris Kush­ner­iuk, who was di­ag­nosed with tes­tic­u­lar can­cer last June.

Kush­ner­iuk, who turned 26 on Christ­mas Eve, played in the Cen­tral Ju­nior A Hockey League, with the Robert Mor­ris Univer­sity Colo­nials and also pro­fes­sion­ally in the ECHL with the Bak­ers­field Con­dors.

He is cur­rently un­der­go­ing treat­ment in Indianapol­is and Thurs­day’s game was to raise funds to help off­set mount­ing med­i­cal bills.

“Things are go­ing very well. He’s really strong men­tally and he’s very rooted in his faith, which helps him a lot,” Chris’ girl­friend Chris­tiane Lalonde said prior to the char­ity game.

“As for how it’s go­ing phys­i­cally, it’s very hard on him and he’s really tired. He has some side ef­fects, but ev­ery­thing is nor­mal and his doc­tors keep telling him ev­ery­thing is go­ing as planned. We’re just hop­ing for the best and tak­ing ev­ery­thing day by day.”

The event was or­ga­nized by Dan Bit­tle and Shane Byrne, own­ers of Apex Sport Man­age­ment, which is a strength and con­di­tion­ing con­sul­tancy where they work with a lot of high-level hockey play­ers.

Nei­ther man knows Chris per­son­ally, but a lot of the ath­letes they work with know Chris very well, and it was a col­lec­tive ef­fort that brought the char­ity game to fruition.

“When we heard about his con­di­tion, we knew we had to do some­thing and be­ing around the game we had to do some­thing,” Bit­tle ex­plained. “Our friends at Minto Skat­ing Club have been very gen­er­ous do­nat­ing a cou­ple of hours of ice and we put the word out to our play­ers and it grew or­gan­i­cally from there.”

Bit­tle added the play­ers have been very ac­tive on so­cial me­dia pro­mot­ing the event and the play­ers have been very re­cep­tive by retweet­ing. There was also a silent auc­tion to raise funds and about 600 fans turned out to watch the game.

“I know Chris a lit­tle bit and it was good to see ev­ery­body come here for a good cause.” Giroux said. “To be able to see a lot of fans here is fun and at the same time we’re hav­ing fun. It’s good to see the com­mu­nity get be­hind this.”

Methot is still look­ing to play his first game with the Sen­a­tors, but the Ot­tawa na­tive was very happy to suit up for Kush­ner­iuk.

“We all heard what hap­pened with Kush and for us it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to help a mem­ber of the hockey com­mu­nity out,” Methot said. “Any­thing we can do to sup­port him and what he’s go­ing through is huge for us.

Team Methot fell to Team Gud­bran­son 8-5 in the end, but the real win­ner was ev­i­dent.

Do­na­tions to the fund can still be made at chriskush­ner­iuk.org.

 ?? MIKE CARROCCETT­O/OT­TAWA CIT­I­ZEN ?? Erik Gud­bran­son, left, and Claude Giroux were two of the NHL stars who par­tic­i­pated in the Krush Can­cer game in sup­port of Chris Kush­ner­iuk at the Minto Arena Thurs­day. Chris Kush­ner­iuk is un­der­go­ing treat­ment for tes­tic­u­lar can­cer.
MIKE CARROCCETT­O/OT­TAWA CIT­I­ZEN Erik Gud­bran­son, left, and Claude Giroux were two of the NHL stars who par­tic­i­pated in the Krush Can­cer game in sup­port of Chris Kush­ner­iuk at the Minto Arena Thurs­day. Chris Kush­ner­iuk is un­der­go­ing treat­ment for tes­tic­u­lar can­cer.

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