Dana-Farber Rink Rats Take the Ice Against Bruins Alumni in Charity Game
For Pasi Jänne, the sport of hockey is more than just a favorite pastime: It’s a way of life.
“I’m from Finland originally, so hockey’s in the genes,” he says. “I started playing as a kid.”
Now, Jänne has an opportunity to put has passion to good use: As a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, he’ll join more than a dozen of his colleagues on the ice for a charity hockey game against former Boston Bruins players, including Ken Linseman, Rick Middleton, and Bob Sweeney. The Rink Rats, Dana-Farber’s team composed of doctors, researchers, and other staff, will meet their challengers at Veterans Memorial Rink in Somerville on April 4. Proceeds from the game will benefit the Jimmy Fund, which supports cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber.
Jänne, a forward for the Rink Rats, says this is the first time that the team—which is coached by U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Cindy Curley—has participated in a charity event with the Bruins alumni. He says he hopes that it will turn into an annual event, given the enthusiasm and interest it has generated so far.
“When we stared putting this together, we didn’t know how many [of us at Dana-Farber] actually played,” Jänne says. “We’ve been getting together and practicing and it’s turned into a nice little community.”
Each player on the Rink Rats is committed to raising at least $1,000 for the Jimmy Fund, which has benefited adult and pediatric cancer patients at Dana-Farber since its establishment in 1948. It’s a cause that strikes a chord with Jänne, whose work has largely focused on lung cancer and the development of new treatments. As the director for the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, Jänne says that he is specifically interested in understanding genetic alterations in the disease. Although he says “it’s a dream to play against great former Bruins,” he seems equally excited by the prospect of advocating for the Jimmy Fund’s cause.
“It will be a fun event, but ultimately we’re hoping that [it] brings awareness to cancer research,” Jänne says. “It’s through research that we find better therapies.”
4/4, Game begins at 1 p.m., admission $20, Veterans Memorial Rink, 570 Somerville Ave., Somerville, jimmyfund.org/rinkrats.