I have never been a huge fan of pink, especially when it comes to hockey jerseys. However, it’s different when it comes to charity. Breast cancer awareness is at an all-time high, thanks to leagues like the NHL and AHL, among others, who host a multitude of events every season. Coaches wear pink ties; players use pink tape, pink sticks, and pink pucks to be auctioned off later- the list is endless. It’s a well-respected cause that deserves attention. So what’s the problem?
You get gimmicks like the one that happened in Norfolk on Saturday. I applaud the creativity, but what a strange idea. Not surprisingly, comments like this one emerged:
The much-discussed “pink ice” wound up taking on a dark, fuschia-like tint, which made for a striking visual from the stands but provided players with an unusual challenge.
“We had no idea where the red line or the blue line were,” Jancevski, the Admirals captain, said with a smile. “Everything just looked pink.”
Not to mention extremely distracting. The ice became the primary focal point as opposed to the players, and it had to be difficult for fans to watch the game. There’s been a lot of talk about the pink ice, but that discussion didn’t necessarily translate into donations.
It’s only one game, and it’s for a good cause, right? But perhaps that’s part of the problem. “It’s for a good cause” is frequently the phrase associated with these events. And this seems to allow organizers license to come up with unusual, unrelated gimmicks- as long as it’s pink, anything goes. (I’m just waiting for the day that pink jock straps are auctioned off.) Some of the events seem almost patronizing, such as selling pink rhinestone pins, pink purses, anything that’s pink. Plus, there’s some doubt about how much of the fundraising actually goes to the cause. The silent auctions hosted by clubs may generate a lot of interest and revenue, but how much goes to the charity- and how much does the charity use on its mission? An October 2007 article in the Detroit News provided a good analysis of the situation, and one woman quoted in the article brought up a good point:
“I’d rather give directly to the charity because then more of my hard-earned money goes to charity,” Koledo said.
Breast cancer research and awareness is critical and deserves everyone’s support. (Don’t forget, men get breast cancer too.) But can’t the fundraising be done without cheap stunts like pink ice?