ONE of Coventry Blaze’s all time ice hockey heroes battling cancer will be able to travel abroad for potentially vital treatment after kind-hearted fans flocked to the Skydome to raise funds.
Adam Calder won eight major trophies and totalled 434 points during his six seasons with the Blaze from 2004 to 2010.
Despite icing thousands of minutes for the Blaze in ice hockey’s highest tier in the UK, Calder is now facing his toughest battle of all after the 40-year-old was diagnosed with cancer in 2014.
Although Calder’s illness can be treated, the attention he requires is currently not available under the NHS – meaning the Blaze legend will have to travel abroad, costing thousands of pounds.
Since going public with his illness, hockey fans have raised a remarkable £35,000 to help fund Calder’s treatment through online auctions, donations and Tuesday night’s charity game between the Blaze and northern rivals Sheffield Steelers.
Despite facing each other in both Challenge Cup and the Elite League fixtures this weekend, both teams took part in two periods of three-on-three hockey and a skills competition – with the Blaze eventually coming out on top by 14 goals to 11.
Current Sheffield Steelers head coach Paul Thompson, who coached Calder for five years at the Blaze, described the Canadian as a champion and said he was type of player that could win games.
Speaking to The Observer, Thompson said: “Adam helped changed the Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey club to be the winning team it was and continues to be.
“I’m very proud to be here to support Adam in what is a tough time for him.
“We won a lot of trophies together and he was my captain.
“He’s been through a tough couple of years but hockey fans from across the UK and Coventry must take a lot of credit for putting this event on.”
Calder was best known for his time in Coventry by many as one half of the most formidable forward combination the Elite Ice Hockey League has ever seen.
Calder teamed up with Dan Carlson on hundreds of occasions to earn the Blaze victories both at home and on the road, and Thompson described the partnership as unbelievable.
He said: “Even when Adam and Dan didn’t skate together though we still won league titles which just proves how good they both are.
“Adam holds the record for the all time top goal-scorer for the Coventry club and the Blaze have had many good players – that says it all.
“The hockey family is a very tight one.
“Even though Sheffield and Coventry will be going to war with each other on Saturday and Sunday it doesn’t mean that we don’t support each other off the ice.
“It’s great we can come together and raise funds for Adam, everyone involved should be very proud of themselves.”
Tuesday night’s game was the brainchild of Coventry Blaze media members Rob Plaister and Craig Summerton, who have both been nationally praised for their efforts in raising the vital funds for Adam’s treatment.
Current Coventry Blaze head coach Danny Stewart said: “We always hear about the hockey culture and staying strong – it didn’t take much to convince both teams to skate tonight.
“Fans have been unbelievable, Adam is going through a tough time but the support he’s received has been tremendous.
“The event exceeded all expectations, Adam is very admirable of what the hockey family has done.”
Visit JustGiving and search Adam Calder to pledge your support to #Support25 or follow the campaign on Twitter using @Support25Calder.
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