October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the October Saves Goalie Challenge is an initiative putting these keeper’s performances between the pipes to great use.
What is the October Saves Goalie Challenge?
Founded in 2014 by the Ashburn Xtreme Hockey Club in Ashburn, VA, the October Saves Goalie Challenge started simply enough, as the club’s coaching staff aimed to foster a sense of community, philanthropy and leadership within their program, in turn helping their skaters become better people as well as better players.
The October Saves Goalie Challenge was born shortly thereafter, as the coaches tapped their netminders to gather monetary donations and pledges from friends, family and neighbors that would coincide with the number of pucks they stopped that month, resulting in a donation at the end of the month.
Four years later, with the help of Washington Capitols Director of Goaltending, Mitch Korn, keepers around the country — from mites all the way up to those competing at the NCAA level — are able to participate in the endeavor, and it’s one that has taken hold among local goalies.
Bloodgood & Red Bank Generals join the fight
“The fight against Breast Cancer is something I take seriously, because I have an aunt who was diagnosed twice,” Bloodgood added. “That really drives me and inspires me. Making a big save is fun on it’s own, but now there’s more to it. Now there’s a greater purpose behind it…It’s bigger than hockey.”
To back Bloodgood’s fight against Breast Cancer head HERE
Through the first two days of October, Bloodgood leads all Red Bank Generals goaltenders — including Tony Brandl, Andrew Pastor and Joe Carbone — in donations generated with $410, after making 23 saves in an NJYHL non-divisional tilt with the Jersey Shore Wildcats on Oct. 1.
Gibilisco & the Wildcats lead the nation in donations
The Wildcats are another local club partaking in the challenge, and their 16 participating goaltenders have already raised $5,636, a total that leads all participating teams in the nation.
One of those tenders is Steven Gibilisco, another netminder who has witnessed Breast Cancer affect his own life.
“I have friends, relatives and neighbors who all have someone in their life struggling with Breast Cancer,” Gibilisco said. “And for me, it’s my grandmother. I’m very lucky that she’s still here with me, because she’s been diagnosed twice. This is a subject that really hits close to home for me, so to be able to join the fight against breast cancer in this way, it’s very important to me.”
Gibilisco — who is in the crease for the Wildcats 18U AA team, and will be entering his junior year a St. Rose — isn’t planning to have his efforts limited to just the month of October.
Instead, he is hoping to use the October Saves Goalie Challenge as a model he can carry into the high school season — where he is expected to be named the Frozen Roses starter for the second consecutive campaign — and a strong foundation to further develop his penchant for philanthropy.
“I’ve been thinking out about extending this effort for the rest of the travel season, and even though my high school season,” Gibilisco said. “And I’d be open to extending it to other causes. Autism awareness is another subject that means a lot to me. Any way I can give back to my community, a community that’s given me so much, I want to do it.”
To back Gibilisco’s fight against breast cancer head HERE
There are a bevy of Wildcats goaltenders joining Gibilisco in the fight against breast cancer, including Kevin Doherty and Jack Elias — who have each already raised upward of $1500 — as well Michael Ziegler — who is closing in on $1000 raised — Brendan Breschard, Lucas Teeple, James O’Hara, Rylan O’Brien, John Woolf, Ryan O’Neill, Joey Colecchia, Robert Petillo, Sean Ryan, Nicholas Anastacia, Jack Bilancione and Ethan Rotante.
The Toms River Blackhawks have also announced their participation in the challenge, as Trey Mattern, Danny Sicknick, Kaitlyn Braun, RJ Cavalcante, Lucas Holland, Mason Lassik, Jason Revello and Daniel Maresca have all joined the fight…you can donate and pledge to back the Blackhawks’ HERE.
For more information on the October Saves Goalie Challenge please visit OctoberSaves.org