It's basically become a yearly tradition at this point. Minor league hockey teams shed the shackles of social norms by persuading large, lumbering men to sport hot pink hockey jerseys for a game or two. But it's the good cause at the heart of it all that keeps everybody coming back for more every season.
Pink in the Rink Night. It's a simple event celebrated at hockey arenas around the continent in a bid to both increase awareness of breast cancer and raise money for related charities. These silly jerseys are normally auctioned off after the game with the proceeds going to a group like Susan G. Komen or a hospital researching a cure for the disease.
Of course this year is no different. Let's take a look at some of the pink sweaters that have been put to use in the AHL to this point in 2014.
The IceHogs get us started with their pink-accented jerseys — really nothing more than their thirds with the red swapped for pink.
They wore them Jan. 25 for a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals.
On Jan. 31, one of the AHL's newest members — the Comets — took to the ice in our favorite hue. They knocked out the Syracuse Crunch 3-1.
The club auctioned off their jerseys at the end of the game to benefit the Breast Care Center at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare.
Even the officials got it on the pink action. The black and pink striped referee outfits are a sight to see. Click through the slideshow above to catch a glimpse.
By the way, if those few photos aren't enough for you, be sure to check out the full gallery on the team's Facebook page. There are some great shots in there.
On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Sharks entered the mix with these numbers — and a rink full of pink ice. They defeated the Providence Bruins 3-2.
It was the third year in a row the Sharks have held such an event. This one benefited The Cup Crusaders, a team that participates in the annual Komen Foundation's Breast Cancer 3-Day walk in Massachusetts.
Hartford Wolf Pack
Just across the state line, the newly re-christened Wolf Pack also held Pink in the Rink on the same night. They beat the Albany Devils 4-3 in a shootout.
The pink-infused jerseys were auctioned off after the game to benefit Komen Connecticut. And here's a fun tidbit from the Pack's website.
The Pink in the Rink theme will include concessions and the Comcast Coliseum Club as well. The concession stands will be offering pink popcorn, pink cotton candy and pink lemonade, and the Coliseum Club menu will feature cherry plank salmon with pink sauce, pink grapefruit salad and pink lobster bisque.
That's a lot of pink around the building.
By the way, thanks to Wolf Pack fan and regular concept contributor Scott Markiewicz for all the great photos he shared via Twitter.
All the focus on breast cancer is great, but for the most part, it directly affects women. The Amerks didn't want the guys feeling left out, so they had Men's Health Night on Jan. 31.
Instead of pink, the team wore powder blue-accented sweaters and beat the Rockford IceHogs 4-1. It seems like the good karma generated by raising money for cancer charities is directly translating to wins on the ice. Not sure how that works, but it's awesome.
By the way, if you want to get your hands on one of these powder blue Americans jerseys, they'll be up for auction through the weekend. The proceeds are going to ZeroCancer.org and The Lipson Cancer Center.
More pink nights to come in 2014
There are still four more AHL teams that I know planning to wear pink this season. Here's a quick list.
- February 15: Iowa Wild and Hamilton Bulldogs
- March 1: Springfield Falcons
- March 21: Lake Erie Monsters
Pink jersey fever has also spread to other minor leagues. I'll do a little research and put together a post like this for the ECHL next week. (And I'll try to remember to come back and update this one later in the season.)
February 9: Almost missed one. The Monarchs skated out last night wearing a pink version of their black third jersey.
Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as well for them as it did for other teams sporting the pink recently. The Monarchs fell 3-2 to the Providence Bruins.
If you'd like to see more of these jerseys in action, there's video here.