FLYERS netminder Bryan Pitton has thrilled Fife hockey fans this year with his on-ice performances but is now hoping they can do something to please him off the rink.
Pitton, who is regarded as one of the best goalies in the Elite Ice Hockey League, has launched a raffle to raise funds to help his friend and former teammate Chris Kushneriuk, who has been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Up for grabs are the netminder’s own blocker and glove, in two separate draws, with all money raised going to a fund set up for 25-year-old Kushneriuk.
The pair iced together for ECHL team Bakersfield Condors, in California last year but Flyer Pitton revealed his former team mate’s health has deteriorated following initial treatment since his diagnosis in June. In an interview with FlyersTV Pitton asked friends, family and fans of the sport - regardless of what club they support - to dig deep to help Kushneriuk, who needs to travel to Indianapolis for the treatment that will ultimately save his life.
“Throughout the summer he did some chemo treatment and things were going well,” explained Pitton.
“Then he got some bad news and things kind of turned for the worse so he had to travel to a cancer specialist in the States.
“Being Canadian we’re not covered for health insurance in the States so the bill is very big.
“The Bakersfield team, and the team he played for before in the coast, as well as his university team have all put together charities to raise money for him and I am just trying to do my part.”
Raffle tickets to be in with a chance of winning the one-off prizes are priced £10 for two or £20 for five and are on sale at the Flyers Supporters Club desk or online on the official website at www.fifeflyers.co.uk.
You will have to be quick though as both draws will be made on February 23 when Fife Flyers host conference rivals Hull Stingrays.
Pitton added: “I just ask that you spend your money generously as he needs the help.
“Being hockey, sometimes there was ups and downs and usually when you lose a game it’s not fun to come to the rink the next day when you have practice, because no one really likes practice, but he was one of those guys that you looked forward to seeing.
“He always had a positive outlook and always had a smile on his face so anything I can do and anything you guys can do to help that would be great.”
A website at www.chriskushneriuk.org has also been set-up for those who wish to make a donation to the fund.