Oilers take aim at prostate cancer

BRIAN SWANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

If the Edmonton Oilers run up the score on anyone this winter, they're only doing it for a good cause.

With their recently launched Oilers Score program, the club is shooting to raise funds for prostate cancer research at the Cross Cancer Institute on the University of Alberta's main campus.

Organizations and individuals can pledge an amount for each time the Oilers tally during the 2008-09 National Hockey League regular season, something the team plans on doing often.

"We're aiming for 250 this year," said Allan Watt, Oilers vice-president of communications. "We had 235 last year."

Oilers Score is part of a larger campaign raising $3 million to fund the CCI's establishment of a chair in prostate cancer research, an initiative that includes building a lab to be fully staffed.

"The fact that the Oilers have stepped up and created this partnership with us is just phenomenal, especially for prostate cancer because ... prostate has been one of those diseases that a lot of men aren't quick to speak about," said Brian Shea, the Alberta Cancer Foundation's chief development officer.

He said it's the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in Alberta. "It's something that impacts a lot of families."

The concept of bucks-for-goals is a throwback to Edmonton's 1980s hockey heydays. Any time then-Oiler winger Glenn Anderson lit the lamp, corporate sponsors anted up to the CCI, a favourite cause of the speedy sniper.

"Twenty-two years later here we are with Glenn going into the hall of fame and then having his jersey retired (by the Oilers on Jan. 18, 2009) and at the same time we have a chance to do the same that was done years ago with Glenn," said Watt.

While there is no fundraising target set for Oilers Score, the hope is that Oiler players will find opposition goalies to be as generous as Edmonton fans.

"There was one pledge made (on the first day) for $1,000 per goal," says Shea.

"We're off and running already."

Pledges can be made online at www.edmontonoilers.com.


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