Put Cancer on Ice raised more than $9,500 for the Hockey Fights Cancer Foundation on Saturday at the third annual Dave Fay Memorial hockey game, which honors the memory of the late hockey reporter for The Washington Times.
Washington Capitals defenseman Brian Pothier dropped the ceremonial first puck for the charity game, held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
“[Fay] was a character,” Pothier said. “He was full of life, he definitely had an opinion and he let you know about it.”
The game featured appearances by several local hockey figures. A handful of former Caps players - Blair Stewart, Gord Lane and Yvon Labre, to name a few - competed. Caps public address announcer Wes Johnson did the pregame introductions and scoring recaps, and mascot Slapshot served as a referee.
During the game, there was a silent auction of hockey-related memorabilia, including signed Caps and Dallas Stars jerseys and a signed Alex Ovechkin collectible.
The game was created in 2007 by Put Cancer on Ice co-founders Gavin Toner, Rob Keaton and Ben Wilson. The organization raised more than $25,000 during its monthly charity games from 2006 to 2008, including $8,350 at last year’s memorial game.
“Both my parents are cancer survivors, three out of my four grandparents have passed from cancer - I can go down the list. It’s an obvious soft spot for me,” Pothier said. “Anytime I can contribute, I always will.”
One of the day’s highlights was the duel between the pipes in the first period. Caps radio play-by-play man Steve Kolbe was in net on the Maryland side; Miss Virginia 2008 and former Penn State women’s hockey goalie Tara Wheeler was in net for Virginia.
Maryland led 3-2 after 20 minutes, but Virginia scored five straight goals in the second period and cruised to a 9-7 victory. Virginia also won in 2008 and gets to retain the trophy, Lord Brown’s Boot.
Most importantly, the event continued to grow, drawing its biggest crowd yet.
“It’s nice to see something that’s progressed from such a little thing,” said Pat Fay, Dave’s widow. “It’s turned a sad time into an uplifting time. It’s really come a long way.”
Fay worked for The Washington Times for 25 years, covering the Caps for 22 of them. After a 12-year battle with cancer, he died at 67 on July 17, 2007. He was one of the first employees at the newspaper, writing and editing when it started publishing in 1982.
Two months before his death, Fay received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award in recognition of his excellence in hockey journalism. The honor gave Fay a plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“He loved the game, and he loved the Caps,” Kolbe said. “I don’t think any guy worked harder at his craft than Dave Fay.”