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Kitchener hockey team honours parent battling cancer in ‘Pink the Rink’ game

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Kitchener's Sportsworld Arena tuned into a sea of pink Sunday for a good cause.

“Accepting the help and support is important,” said one of the team member’s parent, Sarah Cochrane.

The U14 Kitchener AAA team hosted a Pink the Rink charity hockey game to support Cochrane, who is currently battling breast cancer.

“Sarah's son Liam is one of our goalies who played the game today and it was just a good day to get the community out and raise a lot of money,” said head coach, Dave Horne.

Back in November, Cochrane was diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer.

“I was just waking up in the morning and I was stretching and I just felt a lump that morning. So that was the day I saw my doctor and then things spiraled from there,” Cochrane explained.

“I had to get a mammogram, biopsy and everything. And then on November 14th was the day that the surgeon called me and told me that it was cancer.”

With the type of cancer Cochrane has, she was advised to start chemotherapy right away. Once she completes her sixth and final session in March, she will then have to undergo surgery to remove the affected area, start radiation and additional treatment.

“Then I'm on an immunotherapy drug for a year. Plus I'm on some drugs to block hormones because this type of cancer is receptive to estrogen, so we have to block all my hormones as well,” she said.

As a nurse who works in the chemo suite at Grand River Hospital, Cochrane had an idea of what she would be facing.

“So it was just a lot of emotions all at once because I knew what I had.”

Sarah Cochrane holds a bouquet of flowers as the U14 Kitchener AAA hockey team hosts a tournament in support of cancer research. Feb. 25, 2024 (Courtesy: Sarah Cochrane)

While the past few months have been anything but easy, Cochrane says the support she's received from the local community has been overwhelming.

“Not only coworkers, friends, family, but the hockey community - all of these people have been behind me from day one.”

“It was really neat to stand on the bench and just kind of sit back and watch Sarah go out on the red carpet and then look at the sea of pink in front of her, it was amazing,” Horne said.

“It was just amazing to see the community come together. And that's what we want to teach the boys, that community is bigger than just hockey,” he added.

Hockey mom Sarah Cochrane walks the red carpet onto the ice at Kitchener's Sportsworld Arena during charity 'Pink the Rink' game on Feb. 25, 2024 (Courtesy: Sarah Cochrane)

The team raised money during Sunday’s game against the Huron Perth Lakers. They handed out ribbon stickers, sold breast cancer chocolate ribbons and auctioned off autographed memorabilia.

All proceeds from the game will be donated to Grand River Hospital's cancer research department.

“The team just knew that they were there for their brother and fighting for Sarah and they really came together today,” Horne said.

“It was great to see, we're really proud of them.”

Players for the U14 Kitchener AAA team pose for a picture as the team hosted a 'Pink the Rink' game in support of mom battling cancer. Feb. 25, 2024 (Courtesy: Sarah Cochrane)

With a team united and sticks in hand, the hockey community stands strong in solidarity with Cochrane and her family as she continues her battle with cancer.

“People show up for you and people have your back and, you know, just accepting all that love and support just makes the journey that much less difficult.”

The team hopes to continue putting on charity games like this in the future to raise more funds towards cancer research.

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