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 past 10 years, Hockey Fights MS has expanded into hosting 6 tournaments in 5 states - none of which would have been possible if it weren't for the unwaivering support of my family, friends and volunteers.
We'd also like to thank our tournament assistants who return year after year to help out on site.
and of course, Amelia Balch, our official trophy presenter