Mississippi Surge's Third Annual "Pink in the Rink" Promotes Breast Cancer Awareness on the Gulf Coast

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The Pink Heart Funds benefits from the Biloxi's Surge hockey 'Pink in the Rink" night.

Pink in the Rink Guests of Honor Drop Ceremonial Fist Pucks (Photo by Dave Griffioen)

Pink in the Rink Guests of Honor Drop Ceremonial Fist Pucks (Photo by Dave Griffioen)

"We're honored the Surge have selected us as the charity for Pink in the Rink this year," said JoAn Nicely, President of Pink Heart Funds. "We know this is going to help so many people."

What do you get when you combine hockey, breast cancer awareness, and over a thousand supportive fans? For the Surge, the answer is victory, but not just for the team.

On Sunday, February 26, the Surge painted the Power Plant pink with their third annual "Pink in the Rink" game in support of the Pink Heart Funds and breast cancer awareness on the Gulf coast. The first 250 fans to enter the Coliseum received a free 16 ounce pink tumbler, courtesy of Under Armour. The night kicked off by recognizing 11 cancer survivors, including four Surge season ticket holders. Surge players, in their specially designed "Pink in the Rink" jerseys, presented each survivor with a pink flower. The ceremonial first puck was dropped by JoAnn Niceley, president of the Pink Heart Funds, and Surge season ticket holders Bonnie Coghlan, Lyn Hunter Reed, Margaret Rouse, and Frieda Woodcock.

The "Pretty in Pink" crew would return for a first intermission shootout contest, and the crowd roared as JoAnn and the rest of the ladies went onto the ice to shoot from the blue line. The ladies were presented with tumblers and scarves and a few wore bright pink wigs from Pink Heart Funds.

The Surge rallied from a 2-0 deficit with goals by Tyler Ruel and Shawn Skelly just three and a half minutes apart in the second period to tie the game. RiverKings forward Ken Selby would put the RiverKings up 3-2 in the third, and that's when Guran took over. Just 14 seconds after Selby's goal, Guran would find the back of the net to tie it at 3 and would net the game winner eight minutes later. Veteran Rob Campbell would ice it with an empty netter at 18:38 for a 5-3 victory.

With the game in the books, the night was far from over. Surge players, staff, fans, and members of the Pink Heart Funds gathered at Coast Nightclub and Restaurant at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino to auction off the specialty jerseys worn during the game. Fans had the opportunity to take home a game worn jersey while supporting a great cause. Beau Rivage and the Coast Club staff provided food, drink, and a great atmosphere for fans to meet and interact with players. Niceley, an eight year cancer survivor herself, shared her personal story and then talked about what Pink Heart Funds does. The Pink Heart Funds is a non-profit organization that provides free wigs for children and adults who suffer from hair loss due to illness and cancer treatment.

As fans, players, and staff reflected on the heartfelt meaning behind the message of the evening, the auction got underway. The turnout for this event was great and the amount of money raised was even greater. It truly was a victorious night, not only for the Mississippi Surge, but for the Pink Heart Funds and the support for breast cancer patients on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Mississippi Surge wishes to send a big "Thank You" to Beau Rivage, as well as Garden Park Medical Center, Professional Medical Transcription Services, Gulfport Police Athletic League, Belk's, and American Medical Response.

To find out more about Pink Heart Funds or to learn how you can help, call 228.575.8299 or visit http://www.pinkheartfunds.org.

The Mississippi Surge is a professional hockey organization in the Southern Professional Hockey League. To learn more about the team, league, schedule or corporate partnership opportunities, contact the staff at (228) 287-7825 or log on to mssurge.com.


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Andy Makal
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