The St. Cloud boys hockey team will team up with the Cathedral Crusaders off the ice on Thursday while doing battle on the ice.

The teams will join forces for "Hockey Fights Cancer" night to benefit Cathedral student hockey manager Cade Anderson and Joanna Hacker, the wife of Sartell High School boys hockey coach Ryan Hacker.

"We talked to a couple coaches in Sartell and Tom Bruce at Cathedral, and we put together the event with the Activities Director's and our Blue Line Club," St. Cloud boys hockey coach Pete Matanich said.

The Crusaders will play against St. Cloud on Thursday night at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center at 8 p.m. The game can also be heard on AM 1390 KXSS.

Anderson is a 15 year old Cathedral student who also manages the hockey team while his brother, James, is a junior on the team. He is battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma, while Hacker is battling Hodgkins lymphoma.

"Hack is a great guy, and so anything we can do to help out we are happy to do," St. Cloud coach Matanich said. "It can happen to anybody at any time. "

A "Happy-Go-Lucky" Kid

Anderson joined the Cathedral hockey team as manager last year as a freshman under then first-year coach Derrick Brown.

"Cade is the heartbeat of our team," coach Brown said. " Anyone who knows Cade knows he's a happy-go-lucky kid. He came in last year as a freshman, which is tough, especially under a new coach."

Anderson got his diagnosis at the beginning of the hockey season.

"A lot of kids are affected by it because Cade is that special," Brown said. "It's not only our team, because Cade has friends at Sartell, friends at Apollo, friends at Tech."

"He's just a kid that you want to be around," Brown said. "For the things that happened to him to happen, it's just unfortunate."

St. Cloud Sticks Together

Benefit organizer Cassie Amundson says St. Cloud has a tight-knit hockey community.

"We sat back one day and said 'we have to do something for these families," Amundson said. "The hockey community is a close-knit community with all the kids growing up playing together."

Amundson has known the Anderson family for a long time, with James and Cade, now at Cathedral, growing up playing hockey with her sons, Brad and Tommy, who are now at Tech High School. They also have daughters who play youth hockey together.

"We just decided when Cathedral takes on Tech/Apollo on Thursday, it would be a great time to do something to benefit these two families," Amundson said.

Cathedral Activities Director Emmett Keenan said that he is "overwhelmed" by the support shown for Anderson.

"It's phenomenal, but not surprising, the way the entire (St. Cloud) hockey community supports each other," Keenan said. "The fact that the St. Cloud team would work so hard to help those associated with both the Sartell and Cathedral teams is overwhelming."

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"The hockey community and St. Cloud community have been amazing.   We truly have come together for one cause which is great to see and to teach the kids," Amundson said.

"To see the Cathedral and St. Cloud community rally around him and his family makes me really happy," Brown said. "I think it's really helped Cade."

Donations accepted

There will be a reception at the hockey game, along with raffles to win baskets of items from local businesses. Donations will be accepted at the game on a free-will basis.

"The Herb Brooks National Hockey Center was nice enough to allow us to use a room to hold this event," Amundson said. "We will have some treats for people to hang out and mingle and enjoy some snacks."

"We ask for free-will donations, and then we will have a drawing for the baskets that people have donated, too," Amundson said.

All money earned at the event will be split evenly between the Hacker and Anderson families.

"Those wanting to help that cannot attend the game can write out a check to the St. Cloud Tech Boys Hockey Booster Club," Amundson said. "We will cash the check and divide the money between the families that way."