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Preds Host Special Guests During Hockey Fights Cancer Night

Monday, 10.28.2013 / 3:23 PM CT / Features
By Alexis Tahara  - NashvillePredators.com (@AlexisTahara)
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Preds Host Special Guests During Hockey Fights Cancer Night


On Saturday, October 26, the Predators, who took on Central Division opponent the St. Louis Blues, teamed up with the National Hockey League’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative to raise money for Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. One hundred percent of the money that was collected over the course of the evening through blind auctions, silent auctions, change collection and texting campaigns will be donated to the fund.

Tristan Soto of Clarksville and CiCi Collins of Hermitage, who have both battled cancer, were just two of the kids from the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt that had the opportunity to take part in Saturday evening’s special festivities. In addition to Soto and Collins, several young patients rode the Zambonis during intermission, sat in the penalty box during warm-ups and stood with the anthem singer prior to the start of the game.

Behind-the-scenes at Bridgestone Arena early Saturday evening, as players prepared for the upcoming tilt, Soto, 10, was introduced to the “third team on the ice,” the NHL’s officiating crew. Soto’s opportunity to meet and greet with the officials was part of Zebra’s Care, a charity started by the National Hockey League Officials Association, which gives sick children the opportunity to meet NHLOA members and attend an NHL game.

As the nights officiating crew of Gord Dwyer, Dan O’Halloran, Brad Korachik and Don Henderson introduced themselves to Soto and his friends and family, they offered him handfuls of bubble gum, something they said officials are “always known for having.”

O’Halloran presented Soto with his very own black and white official sweater, complete with a No. 1 on the back and the orange arm bands signifying a referee.

“It’s the only ‘No. 1’ in the entire league,” O’Halloran said.

Soto, who said he was most excited about getting to sit in the penalty box during warm-ups after his visit with the officials, showed the crew the signs for “goal” and “slash” that he had learned on the way to take a few photos ringside.

The officials hoisted Soto on top of the net to pose for a few photos and stopped the Zamboni on its way off the ice for a few more.

“It’s great that we get to help give him a couple of hours to forget about his problems,” said Referee Gord Dwyer after meeting Soto. “It’s a good opportunity to see how fortunate we are, and how much we need to appreciate where we are.”

Another special guest was Collins, 11, a two-time cancer survivor, who was named “Mayor of Smashville” for the evening. As part of her title, Collins took part in several different special events, one of which was taking part in the ceremonial opening puck drop between Predators’ Captain Shea Weber and Blues’ Captain David Backes.

“I was nervous, but excited at the same time,” Collins said of taking to center ice as her cancer survival story, being read over the arena PA, gathered applause and a standing ovation from the all in attendance.

Following the puck drop, both Weber and Backes handed their sticks to Collins, a memento of a special evening.

“I feel lucky,” said Collins of her experiences as “Mayor of Smashville.” “Others that have cancer like me don’t get this opportunity. I’m lucky in ways that I can’t even really describe.”

Soto, Collins and the rest of the kids that had an opportunity to participate in some special aspect of Saturday’s game were given memories to last a lifetime. More than that, they served as an inspiration to everyone they met, reminding an arena full of people, from players to fans, to count the daily blessings in their lives.

For more photos, click here.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 58 36 18 4 160 134 76
2 DAL 55 35 15 5 178 147 75
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 53 32 18 3 146 124 67
5 SJS 53 28 20 5 154 143 61
6 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
7 COL 57 28 25 4 153 158 60
8 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
9 MIN 54 23 21 10 133 134 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 53 25 25 3 143 156 53
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 139 157 51
14 EDM 56 22 29 5 138 168 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 54 11 27 -3 38
F. Forsberg 54 17 18 -7 35
S. Weber 54 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 54 6 27 2 33
J. Neal 54 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 54 6 18 3 24
R. Ellis 53 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 54 11 7 -2 18
C. Jarnkrok 53 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 37 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 7 .903 2.54
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36