Cancer took her mother. Now a Grand Forks hockey team is rallying for her.
Alyssa Mulroy always knew where to look for a little moral support while on the ice. Her mom always was in the same spot at Eagles Arena during Grand Forks KnightRiders hockey games.
"She always was up on top, right in the middle,'' Mulroy, a senior at Grand Forks Red River High School, said. I'd always look there during games for a little reassurance.
"She was always so supportive.''
The 0-1-0 KnightRiders host Williston at 7 tonight in their season's home opener. Janelle Mulroy won't be in her customary spot. Alyssa Mulroy's mother died Nov. 15 of cancer.
"I'll probably look up there a few times,'' the senior said. "It's a habit.''
The KnightRiders have a "Stick it to Cancer" fundraiser in honor of their teammate and her mother. Through t-shirt sales and donations, the team already has raised approximately $10,000 to be donated to Altru Hospital's Filling the Gap program to assist cancer patients and their families.
"The Mulroy family didn't want anything for themselves,'' Grand Forks coach Alex Hedlund said. "Our girls wanted to do something to show the team's support for the family. And the Filling the Gap program is dear to them.''
Mulroy played through the volleyball season while her mother battled cancer. Alyssa Mulroy missed only one match—the final one of the season. "That's when she was put in hospice care,'' she said. "It was hard.
"I'm playing for her. Anything I do all season is for her. If I become half the person she was, I'll live a successful life.''
Said Hedlund: "Alyssa has been really strong. You know she misses her mom every day.''
Alyssa Mulroy said every event that is a first without her mother has been hard. Likewise, she anticipates tonight's game won't be easy. But hockey has been an outlet when Mulroy has felt overwhelmed following her mother's death.
"Knowing she'd want me to keep going keeps me going at times,'' Alyssa said. "Hockey takes my mind off things. When I'm on the ice, I'm not thinking about everything else that goes on. I'm just thinking hockey. I like that.''
Doors open at 6 tonight at Eagles Arena. Events include a baked potato bar for a free-will offering, a raffle, a silent auction and a 50-50 drawing. All proceeds go to the Filling the Gap program. Auction and raffle items include an autographed UND men's hockey jersey, four tickets to a Minnesota Wild game, a signed Drake Caggiula stick, a T.J. Oshie signed shirt and a USA women's hockey team autographed stick.
A ceremonial puck drop before the game will be done by Allison Mulroy, Alyssa's older sister and a former KnightRiders player.