The two charity games that have become annual fixtures in hockey rinks across North America are Teddy Bear Toss Night and Pink in the Rink.
The latter occurs tonight at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre with a sold-out crowd of 7,006 expected for the seventh annual Pink Night on Blanshard — the second annual with the junior Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League, which was preceded by five with the defunct Victoria Salmon Kings of the professional ECHL.
Last year’s Royals Pink in the Rink game raised more than $34,000 for breast cancer research.
The Royals will wear pink jerseys for the occasion, with those of goaltender Patrik Polivka, defenceman Tyler Stahl, forward Brandon Magee and mascot Marty the Marmot to be put up for grabs in a live auction to immediately following the game tonight against the Vancouver Giants.
The Royals director of ticketing, Devin Mazur, will do what he always does for this event by donning his “dedicated pink shirt.”
He won’t be alone, with thousands of fans set to look pretty in pink.
“So many people have been touched by breast cancer that it’s a cause everyone can relate to,” Mazur said.
“This is one of the first dates we as a club circle on the calendar.”
Pink nights have taken on a lore of their own in hockey culture.
The Stockton Thunder even tinted the entire ice surface pink when the Salmon Kings visited the California city during the 2008-09 ECHL season with uneven results as some of the players complained of the puck skipping and not sliding true.
Some players don pink skate-laces and hockey tape for the occasion.
Because on this night, real men wear pink.
© Copyright 2013