HOW IT ALL STARTED
When Candice Arnold, executive director of Hockey Fight MS found out she was diagnosed with MS, she decided to use her passion to build a tournament that would help thousands of others in her position.
The inspiration to form this organization came as a direct response to my own diagnosis. I experienced my first symptoms of MS in August 2005. After undergoing several diagnostic tests such as blood work, MRI’s and a spinal tap, I was informed by my neurologist that I had multiple sclerosis. To say that I was shocked is an understatement. I didn’t know anything about multiple sclerosis so I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant at first. I spent days worrying about what life would be like from that moment on. I was 25 years old and had my whole life ahead of me. I wondered if I would be able to continue playing sports and participate in the other activities I enjoyed.
Hockey has always been my passion. I first started playing when I was ten years old. I played for my high school boy’s team before moving on to play competitively on a girl’s travel team and in a local men’s league. By the time I had gone off to college, I was competing at the NCAA Division III level and loving every minute of it. Aside from playing, I was also a private skating instructor and coach. As I’m sure many of my readers can relate, not much existed outside of hockey. Just the thought of not being able to do what I loved most was terrifying.
Rather than accepting defeat, I started brainstorming ways to make the best of the situation. Like the saying goes, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I decided the only thing I could do was help find a cure and so, within one week of being diagnosed, I started planning the first Hockey Fights MS tournament in Pennsylvania.
It is my personal mission to use the skills I have to help as many people as possible and in as many ways as possible, whether it be through research, rehabilitation, or simply raising awareness. Over the years, Hockey Fights MS has expanded into hosting 8 tournaments in 5 states throughout the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions and recently added our first event in Canada. None of this would be possible if it weren't for the unwavering support of my family, friends, and volunteers. I am forever grateful for the support I have and the opportunities that lie ahead.
Candice Arnold is the Founder and Executive Director of Hockey Fights MS. In this role she oversees operations, staff, beneficiary relationships and business development. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005, she took her love for the sport of ice hockey and has used it to raise awareness and help improve the lives of others living with MS. Candice enjoys spending time with her family, playing hockey, and enjoying the outdoors. Event weekends she splits time between the rinks ensuring everyone is having a great experience and keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes.
Tara Wright is our Operations Assistant who helps keep things running smoothly behind the scenes and is instrumental all aspects of event planning. Tara and both of her children Kierra and Colton have been involved with HFMS for many years. Tara is recently retired from the telecommunications industry after 30 years. In her spare time, she enjoys anything hockey, fishing/ boating, and of course spending precious time with her busy family. You can find Tara floating around the tournaments as needed, from behind the merchandise table, at registration, or scorekeeping. Please be sure to say hello.
Darryl Arnold is the Assistant Director for Hockey Fights MS. He is a liaison with our on-ice officials and assists with operations and overseeing staff onsite at tournaments. Darryl enjoys spending time with his family, skiing, and running. Event weekends he can be found at the rink as a resource for our participants.
Ashley Lanning is the Travel Coordinator and one of our Tournament Assistant’s at Hockey Fights MS. Ashley has played in the Hockey Fights MS Tournaments since the inaugural year and is eager to help out wherever she can. When not on the ice, Ashley loves to travel and is always up for an adventure! At the tournaments, you can usually find Ashley behind the merchandise table. Ashley is always excited when given the opportunity to speak French with our Canadian friends! Nous vous invitons à venir nous aider à combattre MS un objectif à la fois!
Jesse Parker is the integration specialist at Hockey Fights MS, responsible for our website and internal tooling. In their spare time, they enjoy mountain-biking, hiking, and traveling in their van. You can find Jesse at our tournaments walking around with a laptop, updating the standings after each game and taking photos and video to put on social media. Come say hello!