Thursday was a big day for 21-year old St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz. He was playing his 100th career NHL game and assisted on the Blues’ opening goal in their 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.
For Schwartz, Friday will be an even bigger day for him and his family.
Three years ago this April, Mandi Schwartz, Jaden’s older sister, and a forward for the Yale University women’s hockey team, lost her two-and-a-half year battle with acute myeloid leukemia. In the years since her passing, the team has held a fundraising game in her honor. The “White Out for Mandi” night has raised tens of thousands of dollars and awareness for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation. No admission is charged and donations are accepted through the night.
This year, thanks to fortunate scheduling, the event falls on a weekend where Schwartz and the Blues are in the New York City area. Before traveling to Long Island to face the Islanders Saturday afternoon, the Blues will use their off-day Friday to bus to New Haven, Connecticut and Ingalls Rink to hold an open practice and later attend the “White Out for Mandi” game at 7 p.m. ET as the women's team hosts Brown.
Joining Jaden will be his parents, Carol and Rick, traveling from their home in Saskatchewan.
Originally the plan was for Schwartz and a few teammates to attend the event, but once Blues general manager Doug Armstrong got wind of the idea he ran it by a few of the team's veterans who, according to Fox Sports Midwest, told him “That's an automatic."
Along with the fundraising game, Yale has held an annual bone marrow drive since since 2008, when Mandi was first diagnosed. The drives have added close to 4,000 people to the Be The Match Registry and, according to the university, have found 23 matches, including two student-athletes who donated to patients in need. This year's drive is scheduled for April 17.
The outpouring of support since Mandi's initial diagnosis showed how a community can rally to support one of their own. For the Schwartz's, they're grateful.
"It means more to our family than anyone will ever realize," Schwartz told NHL.com.
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