Bruins players are unified for a cause: Players Connor Mylmyok and Adam Szubert have seen cancer affect families
Published 6:00 am Monday, January 28, 2019
When cancer strikes a family, the effects can be devastating. But the pain can also be a unifying factor.
The Austin Bruins are going to pay tribute to families that have been hit by cancer when they host the Minnesota Magicians in their annual Paint the Rink Pink Night on Feb. 2. This year, the Bruins will have jerseys that feature the names of people who have suffered from cancer. Those names will include relatives of players, community members and Bruin fans alike.
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“We wanted to something completely different from what we had done in the past and we wanted to make it more personable and put a name to go beyond the statistics,” Austin co-owner Mike Cooper said.
Bruin defenseman Adam Szubert, who is from Tinley Park, Illinois, has been hit harder by cancer than most. He had a family friend die recently after a seven year battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his grandma, who didn’t smoke died of lung cancer at age 62, he had an aunt die of brain cancer a few months ago and he had a cousin die at age nine after being diagnosed with leukemia at age two. Szubert will wear the name his family friend on his jersey on PTRP night.
Szubert’s mother also had colon cancer at the age of 40 and she won her nine-year battle with the disease.
“My mom’s lucky. She survived,” Szubert said. “I appreciate the little things a lot more now. Having my mom around a lot is nice. I see other people haven’t survived the same things that she has. It makes me more appreciative and happy to be alive.”
Connor Mylmyok, a defenseman from Wilcox, Saskatchewan, has had to stay strong down in Austin as his grandma battles stage 4 liver cancer up in Alaska. She has had the disease for two years and Mylmyok hasn’t seen her as much as he’d like to, although he was able to make a visit over the Bruins’ holiday break.
Mylmyok will wear the name of his grandma on his jersey during PTRP night.
“I know she would really like to see us more. She’s been going through surgery which is really tough, but she’s been fighting really hard and I’m proud of her,” Mylmyok said. “She’s done a lot for me, especially when it comes to growing up and me becoming the man I am today. She’s been there my whole life and it means a lot to represent her.”
While cancer is a brutal disease, Mylmyok said the Bruins have grown a little closer together as they’ve shared their stories of dealing with it’s effects.
“It brings the team together a whole lot and for the families that are affected like mine, it brings our families closer together,” Mylmyok said. “When events like this happen, it really has an impact on not just the team, but our families and people in the community as well.”
Austin head coach Steve Howard said that the Bruins are glad they can give back.
“Our organization would like to thank The Hormel Institute and everybody in Austin for making this such a great event,” Howard said. “We really appreciate all of the support. Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody that’s battling this disease. Every year we want to keep raising some money to help fight this cause.”