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February 09. 2012 11:43PM

'Pink in the Rink' game takes on special meaning for Monarchs


David Duarte puts down a coat of pink paint while getting ready for Saturday night's “Pink in the Rink” Manchester Monarchs game against the Connecticut Whale at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. Players will be wearing pink jerseys, use pink tape on their sticks and skate on pink ice. Proceeds from the second annual benefit the fight against breast cancer through the Monarchs Care Foundation, the Catholic Medical Center Breast Cancer Center and Norris Cotton Cancer Center. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

The pink ice is back.

The Manchester Monarchs will host their second annual “Pink in the Rink” night on Saturday (7 p.m. against Connecticut) to raise funds and raise awareness about breast cancer.

The Monarchs will wear pink jerseys (to be auctioned off after the game) and skate on pink ice. The event was a sellout last season and Verizon Wireless Arena is expected to be full again this year.

The event has special meaning to some members of the Monarchs, including defenseman David Kolomatis, whose mom Ellen is a breast cancer survivor.

“I think it's great that we do it. You see the support from the fans. We really get a good crowd that night and it goes to a good cause,” Kolomatis said. “We're all humans out there. It's a disease that effects everybody.”

That's the take from Monarchs forward Richard Clune, whose gritty exterior on the ice belies a gentle soul off it.

Clune is a fan favorite whose jersey was one of the highest money makers in last year's auction. While most players will use pink tape on their sticks Saturday, Clune sports pink tape on his stick handle year-round.

“Everybody is united in some way. It's good to support causes like (cancer awareness) and women in general,” Clune said. “Hockey players have such face third-place Worcester (21-14-9, 51) on the road tonight at 7 o'clock before coming home for Saturday's event.

The Monarchs come in off a 4-2 home loss to Portland Tuesday where the Pirates jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead. Manchester head coach Mark Morris was disappointed in his team's effort Tuesday. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak and a win would have been a bonus heading into this weekend's tough slate, which includes a Sunday matinee at Springfield (3 p.m.).

“It's no cakewalk from this point forward in the season. Readiness and preparation is where it's at,” Morris said. “The lack of compete in the early going will sink you every time.”

The players were looking forward to putting Tuesday's loss behind them, and a win Friday would make that easier to do.

“That's what's awesome about this game, you can come right back,” Clune said. “This game is about second chances. You can have that short-term memory and come back out and play amazing and (Tuesday's) game will be long gone by the weekend.”


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