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Lee, Islanders compete in third annual Kancer Jam event

Anders Lee held his third annual Kancer Jam event at the Barclays Center after a 6-2 loss to the Dallas Stars.  The game recap will come in the Isles Puck Talk next week, but the event itself is a wonderful day full of fun and charity.

The event started three years ago after Anders Lee had struck up a friendship with cancer patient Fenov Pierre-Louis.  Lee started the campaign and has held it for the past three seasons.  Unfortunately, Lee’s friend Fenov passed away four months ago to the day, after a lengthy battle with Neuroblastoma, a rare cancer found in the kidneys.

Lee started the tournament off with a touching tribute to his friend Fenov, and was brought to tears while giving his speech.  “Fenov was one of those people that came into my life and really just changed me right away, changed my perspective on things,” Lee said. “He just made that much of an impact on me in such a short amount of time. It’s amazing what you can learn from a 17-year-old kid. He was wise beyond his years. His friendship is something I’ll never forget and I cherish every day we had. Now we get to honor him as we continue this foundation event and do our best to not only help kids with cancer but their families and try to find a cure for this disease.”

The event itself raised over $117,000 so far, with more donations coming in every day.  As someone who donated, I was lucky enough to be chosen to represent Team 27 and play in the tournament.  It was a fantastic day filled with lots of laughs and some good Kan Jam.  Here are the three main takeaways I took from this great event.

These guys clearly care about the event and their captain

It’s a testament to both the Kancer Jam and Anders Lee that every single teammate showed up for the Jam Kancer in the Kan event.  Every single one.  Lou Lamoriello made a brief appearance, as did co-owner Jon Ledecky.

Anders Lee clearly had a very special relationship with Fenov, the young man who unfortunately lost his life to cancer way too soon.  Fenov’s memory lives on in this event, and the fact that Lee, his teammates, the organization, and the fans were able to raise $117,000 just this year shows that the event is a success.

The Islanders by all accounts are a very tight knit team.  Spending so much time together, how can they not be?  It’s an extremely long day for them.  They get to the arena in the morning, play a three hour game of professional hockey, go through an hour of postgame interviews, then host an event for hours.  They’re humans too, and people seem to forget that they have families also.  There were plenty of kids running around during the event, and many of the team’s families were there as well.

They’re very much looking forward to playing on Long Island

I spoke to a few of the players about how they enjoy Long Island, how they feel about going back to Nassau Coliseum, and how their commute is.  Everyone I spoke to is very excited to come back to Long Island.  They hate the commute to Barclays, and since many of them take the train it extends their day by at least an hour.

Two people in particular that were excited to play on Long Island were Leo Komarov and Mat Barzal.  Leo said that as an opponent, it was always tough to play on Long Island at the Nassau Coliseum.  The crowd feels like they’re on top of you.  Barzy stated that he’s super excited to play in front of a raucous crowd, and I shot back that my first game at the Coliseum will be on February 28th against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He laughed when I told him that every single person would be booing John Tavares.

Some of them aren’t great at Kan Jam

These guys are all incredible athletes but a lot of them have never played Kan Jam before.  There were frisbees flying all over the place, there were a lot of missed opportunities, but it was a great experience regardless.  Mat Barzal and his team won the third annual Fenov Cup (named in memory of Fenov) but some weren’t nearly as good as Barzy.

I won’t name the players who weren’t the greatest, but let’s just say that these guys should stick to their day jobs.  Overall, this was a great experience for everyone involved.  There were hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for a great cause, there was a fun tournament of Kan Jam for all those affected by cancer, and the boys were all happy to be there.  Thank you Anders Lee and Jam Kancer in the Kan for letting me participate in such a beautiful event.  Let’s go Islanders.


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