Local hockey team creates 'Pink the Rink' to honor cancer survivors and victims

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FORT PIERRE, S.D. When most people think of hockey, they think of a rough and tough sport. On Saturday, two rivals are coming together to fight for a different cause.

Chase Bolte, senior member of the Oahe Capitals hockey team, wanted a way for his fellow teammates to leave a legacy. Bolte knows the effects cancer can have on a family because his mom and grandfather both fought their own battles with the disease. So, he decided to start a new, and hopeful annual, event at the Expo Center in Fort Pierre: 'Pink the Rink.'

"I went and talked to Avera and Sanford and got donations. We have pink jerseys and pinks socks as well as decals," the senior explains.

His fellow captain and teammates are appreciative of what Bolte has accomplished.

"It's a great opportunity for everyone to come out and watch a game and hopefully we can put on a good show for them and just represent cancer in a good way," says Connor Gerber, captain and member of the Oahe Capitals.

The hockey organization is familiar with a loss from cancer after one of their own players, Tyler Wilcox, lost his battle.

"Every time we come into practice, come into a game, enter this arena, we see the shadow box of Tyler Wilcox," says Jaden Griese, Oahe Capitals player.

The team honors Wilcox with five stick taps at the end of every game.

For Connie Bolte, the efforts by her son to honor her, his grandfather, and everyone else who has either fought, is fighting, or lost their battle to cancer is touching. Connie is a 15 year survivor of breast cancer.

"Let's get the good fight going. Let's work together and find a cause. Nobody wants any type of cancer," explains Connie.

The Oahe Capitals play their biggest rival on Saturday: the Rushmore Thunder. The Rapid City team is also joining in to help with the cause.

"They have a player on their team who's mom is battling breast cancer right now and they'll all be dedicating the game to her. So, it's really neat to be able to come together with both teams like that," explains Brody Hultman, goalie for the Oahe Capitals.

The teams will be raising funds during the game through jersey auctions and Chuck-A-Puck. All donations will benefit Avera Saint Mary's and Edith Sanford Breast Center.