Striding for the cure

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Unfortunately, Brenlee Coates had many requests from people who wanted to play in her all-star female charity hockey game.

It's unfortunate because tomorrow's "Strides for the Cure" game at Keith Bodley Arena is raising money for the Believe in the Goal Foundation, which funds cancer research.

Players from the Manitoba Women's Junior Hockey League, University of Manitoba Bisons, Balmoral Hall Blazers and local senior women's leagues will take part in the contest, and almost all of them have been touched by cancer.

"There were 15 Bisons that wanted to play, and I had to cut it down," said Coates, a Red River College student who plays for the MWJHL's Prairie Blaze and organized the event herself. "I had to start asking, 'Does anyone really want to play? Is she someone who is super connected to it?'

"Because there's people whose moms have passed away from cancer and stuff like that. I want to include those people."

Coates, a Red River College student, initiated the project because she was good friends with Believe in the Goal founder Todd Davison, a talented Winnipeg hockey player who passed away in 2006 at age 20 following a battle with cancer.

"I definitely did it for my friend's foundation, and then it has the added benefit of promoting just how good the women's hockey is here in Manitoba," she said. "It's basically the best female hockey talent we could uncover in the province."

Balmoral Hall forward Christine Bestland recently competed at the under-18 world women's hockey championship in Germany and is one of Manitoba's rising female hockey stars. Cancer has hit her life also.

"I've had a great uncle and both my grandparents diagnosed with cancer," Bestland said. "My grandparents fought it, and they're healthy and good right now.

"It means a lot to me to be able to play in a hockey game knowing that I'm raising money and supporting cancer research."

Tomorrow's game starts at 3:30 p.m. at Keith Bodley. Tickets are $5.


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