Their hockey season may currently be suspended, but the White Rock Whalers have been keeping busy this month off the ice, raising money for men’s health.
As they’ve done the last few years, players and staff with the Pacific Junior Hockey League team signed up to take part in Movember, the annual event during which moustaches are grown and money is raised in support of both prostate and testicular cancer research, as well as mental health initiatives.
Last year, the Whalers – led by campaign captain and assistant coach Mitchell Knoepfel – raised $8,600. This year, they have so far raised $5,719, with a few days left to go before November ends.
The junior ‘B’ Whalers are in the midst of their third season in the PJHL, but the regular-season schedule is currently on hold until at least Dec. 7 due to current provincial health-orders.
Movember has also become part of the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative that was founded by the National Hockey League and its players’ association in 1998.
Whalers head coach Jason Rogers said taking part in the Movember campaign is “about being involved in the community.”
Rogers also acknowledged a personal connection to the cancer-research cause, though it’s not something he often brings up.
“I hadn’t really talked about it, but as a testicular cancer survivor – I think now, maybe now more than ever, with the challenging world that we’re in, if we can focus our effort, time and give back even more… that’s really important,” he said.
Knoepfel, meanwhile, noted that the Movember campaign is important because it brings men’s health to the forefront – even if it does result in some truly awful attempts at growing facial hair from some who take part.
“What caught my attention in the first place was the growing of the moustache,” he said.
“What made me really lean into it and exert an effort is that men’s health, particularly mental health, is not spoken about very much. It often tends to be downplayed.”
Whalers captain Tyler Price, taking part in his first Movember fundraiser, quipped that he wished he “could get (a moustache) like Selleck,” referring to famously mustachioed Hollywood star Tom Selleck.
To donate to the cause, visit https://ca.movember.com and search for ‘White Rock Whalers’ to find the team’s campaign page.