SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds recently announced a donation of $26,000 as a result of the funds raised from the postgame jersey auction on Nov. 25, which served as the club’s annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night.
The night held extra meaning to T-Birds forwards Will and Sam Bitten, who once again were at the forefront of the efforts through Bitsy’s Army, the charity the brothers established in honor and memory of their cousin, Martin Piche, who passed away in 2021 at age 31 following a lengthy battle with a cancerous brain tumor.
Not only did the T-Birds shut out the Utica Comets by a 7-0 score, but the Bitten brothers were front and center in the scoring. Will tallied two goals and an assist, while younger brother Sam recorded his first career AHL point with more than a dozen family and friends in attendance.
“It could not have been a more storybook evening for our entire organization,” Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa said. “For Will and Sam to put together a game like that on a night that meant so much to their family was nothing short of inspiring. Beyond that, seeing the charitable support from so many of our fans was overwhelming, and their generosity has allowed us to make a deep and meaningful impact on so many wonderful causes. It was a night that truly brought out the best in our city.”
In Piche’s honor, the T-Birds Foundation made a contribution (via Bitsy’s Army) to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, based out of the Bittens’ home province of Ontario. A host of Springfield-area cancer charities were also benefactors from Hockey Fights Cancer Night, including: Cancer House of Hope (CHD), Griffin’s Friends (Baystate Health Foundation), Sister Caritas Cancer Center (Mercy Medical Center), and Survivor Journeys.
The T-Birds also presented a check to the National Hockey League’s official Hockey Fights Cancer charity. A joint initiative of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Assoc. powered by the V Foundation for Cancer Research, Hockey Fights Cancer unites the hockey community in support of cancer patients and their families.
Fans who may have missed Hockey Fights Cancer Night but still want to contribute to Bitsy’s Army and Hockey Fights Cancer can do so by clicking here.