Nick McAdam, Sports Editor
The Utica College women’s hockey team will host Nazareth College on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. for the team’s ‘Gold Ribbon’ game to raise awareness for childhood cancer.
Utica will team up with the 13thirty Foundation, which describes itself as an organization that helps teens and young adults with the hardships of the disease in the Upstate New York region.
The team will also auction off jerseys with the gold ribbon patch on the left shoulder at a starting bid of 100 dollars.
According to head coach Dave Clausen, the gold ribbon game has been a tradition for the team for the past eight seasons. After the game, the Pioneers will continue to spread awareness by ‘Going Gold’ for the rest of the season.
The Center for Disease Control, otherwise known as the CDC, conducted an updated study for 2019, which indicated that the Northeast census region saw the most cases of childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer in the United States within the parameters of 180 to 205.5 per one million people.
Despite four out of five children surviving cancer, survivors might need follow-up treatment in the future and could be more likely to attract other cancers or heart diseases. At the moment, childhood cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among children.
The overall awareness campaign is a big part of the women’s hockey program, according to coach Clausen.
“It’s a big part of our program and what we do. Certainly DPIG and childhood cancer hits home with our group.”Dave Clausen, Women’s Hockey coach
All proceeds from the event will go to local charities and families in the surrounding areas which the 13thirty Foundation will also take part in helping. The tradition has raised close to $30,000 to help local families, according to Clausen.
The coach said he enjoys seeing the impact the team has on the surrounding area and the willingness of the community members to contribute to the cause, especially Utica College alumni.
“I think it’s a big impact,” Clausen said. “When you talk to Alumni, it’s always something they remember fondly and a great individual team tradition that carries through the years connecting a large number of alumni and community members.”
Clausen recently noted that the game has had a huge impact on affected families in the Mohawk Valley area and that the women’s hockey team will always look to contribute to the community for many years to come.
As for the game itself, the Pioneers will come into it after an eight-game losing streak that ran from early November until a Jan. 18 victory against Lebanon Valley College in a shutout 2-0 effort.
Utica currently sits at an overall record of 6-11. Although the team is 6-3 in UCHC conference play, the Pioneers still hold the last position on the Women’s North table trailing William Smith by a pair of points.
Nazareth comes into the game with a 7-1-1 record for third place in the entire conference. To put this into perspective, Utica is only three points behind the Golden Eagles in the standings.
Clausen marks this game on his calendar every season which, according to the coach, turns out to be one of the toughest games each year.
“Beating them early in the year was huge,” Clausen said. “We played a very solid defensive game and were very opportunistic offensively.”
Utica recently has seen great performances from Georgiana Santullo, who notched a hat trick in a recent game against Neumann University, which put her up to 12 points, a tie for the team-lead with Erica Sloan.
The game will happen on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. After Nazareth, Utica will have five more games left in the season to prove worthiness of qualification for the UCHC Tournament.