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Girls hockey shines as more than $400K raised at annual Play For A Cure in LaSalle

Officials from the Play for a Cure Pro-Am present a $404,000 cheque on to support local cancer research in Windsor-Essex through the Cancer Research Collaboration Fund on April 20, 2024. (Bob Bellacicco/CTV News Windsor) Officials from the Play for a Cure Pro-Am present a $404,000 cheque on to support local cancer research in Windsor-Essex through the Cancer Research Collaboration Fund on April 20, 2024. (Bob Bellacicco/CTV News Windsor)
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The fourth edition of Play For A Cure has concluded with a record $404,000 being raised for cancer research efforts.

“Absolutely awesome,” organizer Jeff Casey said on the fundraising efforts of the community.

The final total is expected to be higher once merchandise, silent auction and raffle sales are also included.

“Woody’s Hoodies did an incredible fundraiser for the last month and they announced last night at the All-Star game that they raised $12,720," said Casey, who also received cheques from various community members.

A cancer survivor, Casey’s efforts has helped raise more than $1.6 million dollars since 2019.

The three-day, pro-am hockey event kicked off Thursday at Caesars Windsor with a draft involving former NHL and Olympic stars such as Gary Roberts, Adam Graves, Meghan Agosta and Angela James.

A pro-am hockey tournament was held Friday at the Vollmer Complex and featured a shootout with YouTube stars Zac Bell and Pavel Barber followed by an All-Star game.

Money raised helps fund collaborative cancer research in our community.

“The work that the Terry Fox Foundation has done around cancer research is shockingly amazing and we’re able to partner with them now to bring money from them back into Windsor to help do clinical trials for our cancer patients," said Casey.

Building excitement on women's hockey

Agosta helped run the girls' skills event Saturday at the Vollmer Complex.

“Girls' hockey has come a long way and it’s amazing to see the one league now, the PWHL, something these girls can strive and dream about,” the four-time Olympian said.

Girls between the ages of nine and 18 took part in sessions run by some of the world’s best female hockey players to ever skate including Agosta, Team USA's Megan Bozek, Team Canada's Sami Jo Small and Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James.

Professional women’s hockey has had many stop and starts throughout the years but the Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL) seems to have hit its stride and is creating a lot of excitement.

Attendance records have been broken numerous times this season including close to 14,000 fans attending a game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit between Ottawa and Boston in March.

“Even today skating on the ice, a little girl goes ‘My dream was to play for the Edmonton Oilers. But now, with the PWHL, her dream now is to play in that league," Agosta said.

Carrie Sekela, former captain at Dartmouth College and head coach of the Windsor Lancers, saw the excitement for women’s hockey in the morning session with a group of girls ages nine to 10.

“They just couldn’t wait to get on the ice with the big stars. Just the energy alone, and getting their jerseys signed, it’s clear the temperature is hot for girls' hockey," said Sekela.

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