Thinking Pink at UMass Boston

Ryan Thomas

Last year, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association started the “Think Pink” initiative to raise awareness for breast cancer on the court, across campuses and in the surrounding communities.

One year later, the “Think Pink” initiative has exploded onto college campuses all over the country. From Adelphi University to Youngstown State University, over 1,000 campuses are participating; and that includes UMass Boston.

Last week, UMass Boston took the awareness into their own hands by holding a “Pink at the Rink” event for the men’s and women’s hockey teams and a “Think Pink” event for the Beacons’ men’s and women’s basketball teams. The men and women donned pink laces, pink tape, and the basketball teams wore pink shirts in honor of the event. A 50/50 raffle was held for both the basketball games and hockey games. Between the two, $721 was raised and donated to cancer research.

“We basically just built off the two national events that the NCAA is doing at different levels,” UMass Boston’s Marketing and Promotions Director Brendan Eygabroat said about the budding program. “We tried to get [“Think Pink”] launched throughout all of Division III. It didn’t happen this year, but hopefully next year it will catch on.”

Friday, February 14, kicked off “Pink at the Rink” with the Lady Beacons facing New England College. The women came out victorious, defeating the Pilgrims 7-2, but head coach Maura Crowell was a bit concerned going into the game. “I was worried it would be distracting,” she said, citing that the girls were extra excited for the event.

“There was a whole lot of pink and they were just really fired up about wearing pink and raising awareness, so I was concerned about the focus. But we went out there and stomped New England College. Pretty unexpected, but awesome that [the girls] could respond and get up for a game because they knew what was on the line for that.”

Crowell, like many other people, carried extra emotions into the game. She indicated that she had lost an aunt to cancer and also said that both of her assistant coaches had cancer hit close to home.

Eygabroat, who coordinated the entire event, expressed his condolences to all the survivors and non-survivors of cancer, saying it was “very touching” the way the list of affected people was read before the hockey games. “It makes you think about how fortunate you are to have your health, because without that, you don’t have anything,” Eygabroat said.

In the second game of the night, the men competed in a game that was much closer and harder-fought than the ladies’, eventually tying Williams College 2-2. It was an emotional game on the ice, but there was more than met the eye. Kris Kranzky, sophomore captain of the Beacons, definitely was playing with some extra emotional baggage. A few years back, Kranzky lost his grandmother to a form of lung cancer that quickly spread throughout her entire body. Before the game, a long list of names were read of people affected by cancer, and that really touched him. “I had chills when they were reading all those names,” he said. “It [was] emotional, real emotional.”

“It was a little extra to play for, thinking about your family members, kind of playing for them too,” he said after the game. Kranzky didn’t record a point in the game, halting his 15-game point streak, but he made his presence felt, playing physical and leveling a Williams player into the boards that excited the crowd.