YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Those walking out on the rink at the Covelli Centre Thursday night had one goal: to paint the rink.
But, everyone had their own special message.
“I was 26 when I lost my dad. He had cancer in his lungs, and then it had spread to his brain and he passed away. So, my kids don’t know him,” Mary Noble said.
Noble and her children painted messages to him during the Youngstown Phantoms Hockey event to benefit the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center.
Fans were able to purchase squares of ice for $10 apiece for painting their messages. The Phantom will then play on the messages and drawings during a “Pink in the Rink Game” on Saturday. The game, presented by Trumbull Industries, is held to raise awareness of those affected by cancer.
Grace Wu remembered her grandfather who lost his battle with lung cancer by drawing a touching message to him.
“Even though I never met him, that I miss him, and I wish that he never passed away,” she said.
For Phantoms hockey player Vas Kolias, the event hit close to home. He also painted a message on the ice, spelling out how brave his mother was through her battle with State 1 breast cancer.
“As her son, I can only do so much,” he said. “She did the bulk of it, and I just want to put it down in writing just how proud and how brave she was.”
Kolias said his mother battled breast cancer for two years, and although it was a struggle to see his mom go through cancer, he said he never let it show.
“My philosophy throughout the whole way was to treat it as a normal day,” he said. “You know, the last thing I wanted my mother thinking on any given day was that this was anything different.That she may not have a chance at making it through this.”
Kolias wrote — “Momma bear wins the fight for her cub.” “Momma bear” is what he calls his mother, who is now in remission.
“I couldn’t even imagine going through what she went through,” he said. “I mean, talk about losing everything.”
Each piece of writing painted on the ice has a heart-warming message, and every message will still be there as the Phantoms take the ice this Saturday.
Tickets for that game against the Muskegon Lumberjacks are still available. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m., and $2.50 of every ticket sold will be donated to Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center.
Special pink team jerseys will be auctioned off after the game.
Tickets are available online or at the Covelli Centre.