‘Grubi’ mask for the cause of cancer
Although cancer researchers have made incredible progress in improving treatments and extending life, the reality is that there is still a long way to go to completely eradicate the disease. Another reality: almost everyone has a connection to cancer.
This includes the Kraken keeper Phillip Grubauer. He has lost both his grandmothers to cancer in recent years. He’s also befriended a young goalkeeper in his native Germany in a story everyone will want to know.
“I think everybody’s into it,” said Grubauer, who has designed a commemorative goalie mask that he will auction off during November, which is Hockey Against Cancer Month. “Everyone can support everyone. It’s not always easy, especially if you have a family struggling and dealing with these things. It’s not a fun time, but everyone is here to support everyone. The more money we can raise for research , it will be better.”
This fall’s goalie mask and helmet hold special meaning for Grubauer.
“One of the main reasons is that one of my little goalie teammates from the town next to where I grew up came home with a brain tumor,” Grubauer said in a recent meeting with fellow Kraken Alison Lukan. “[Doctors] told him it’s not likely to get too far, the chances are pretty, very slim.
“I always kept in touch with him, FaceTime, sending him videos. Then a miracle happened and he’s fine. Now he’s back on the ice. [as a young teen] … I have been in contact with him for some time.”
Goalkeeper union is a real thing, regardless of age or playing league. Supporting family, friends and community members coping with and living with a cancer diagnosis forms a similar bond of empathy and strength. And you certainly celebrate the wins when you get them.
“It was very emotional for me to be a part of this journey,” Grubauer said. “He’s a hockey goaltender and he loves hockey. He was struggling for a long time there and he found a way. It’s amazing to see that transition from sick he was to happy and healthy now.”
The two goalkeepers in arms met through a friend and physiotherapist in the German village of Grubauer. He reached out to Grubauer, asking if he could connect with the young goaltender, perhaps send a video or FaceTime with him. Grubauer did all of the above and, perhaps most importantly, stayed in touch.
“He was the happiest man,” Grubauer said of the videos, photos and phone calls. “Little stories like this. If you can put a smile on a kid’s face, someone is doing one .”
This November’s “Grubi” mask in honor of Hockey Cancer Month started with a brainstorm with Drew Hamlet, the Kraken’s art director. They worked on initial concepts and sketches, sending the materials to Grubauer’s regular co-creator Dave Gunnarsson, whose Sweden-based company DaveArt designs goggle helmets for numerous NHL goaltenders.
“This is the first thing I did [in-house] with the graphics team,” said Grubauer, who played in Washington and Colorado in his previous NHL stops. “Drew did a phenomenal job. He put it on the computer. You can actually see how it will turn out. We put together a couple of ideas and sent them to Dave…He mixed in his own creativity and I think it turned out amazing.”
The mask features mountains, as well as a water scene that Grubauer says may be Puget Sound and/or Lake Washington. The bottom of the helmet features lines of Washington trees, these mountains and a Kraken Hockey Fights Cancer logo.
Grubauer added “personal touches” that are always a part of his mask and helmet: “You have the Bavarian flag, the German flag, a couple of my dog’s paw prints … (my mother’s initials) , my dad and my girlfriend.”
Kraken Hockey Fights Cancer is an initiative in partnership with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health dedicated to raising awareness of cancer research. The initiative aligns with a larger league-wide cancer awareness campaign during November that began in 1998.
For more information on the Kraken Hockey Fights Cancer mask auction and other items to raise funds for cancer research, look for information nearby on the Kraken app, website and social channels. The Nov. 17 home game against the New York Rangers is Team Kraken Hockey Fights Cancer night with special warm-up jerseys up for auction.
This year’s Kraken Hockey Fights Cancer Warm Up Jersey features unique detailed jersey numbers that incorporate purple ribbons interlacing the number set. The purple ribbon is representative of pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease.
Helping beat cancer is personal for all of us. We can all support the research with contributions or by bidding on Grubauer’s mask from now until the end of the month.
To bid on the Grubauer Hockey Fights Cancer mask, visit HERE.
To bid on next week’s Kraken Hockey Fights Cancer shirts, visit HERE.
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