Catrin Backstrom always put her sons first and put them into every younger hockey practice, and it was no different when she received devastating news three years ago. The center of Washington Capitals, Nicklas Backstrom, was in the middle of a playoff run, so she kept the diagnosis of breast cancer secret until the end of his season.
"That's how I can focus on ice hockey," he said. "I think it was the right thing, but it surprised me. You hear so much about it, but if you and your family are affected, it's a shock. "
Catrin has been cancer free for a year, but this experience has remained with Backstrom, who has a new appreciation for the fight against the disease and for the fear that a family can have if a loved one is diagnosed. As part of Capitol's Hockey Fights Cancer Night against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, Backstrom wears lavender skate blades that he will sign and auction before the game he will sign and auction. Proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and Hopes of Recovery. The auction will go through the second interruption of Washington's game against Columbus. The auction offer of Backstrom can be viewed here.
For Backstrom it is a way to honor his mother with her in the city for the game.
"She had a hard time going through," he said. "I think it's important to show her my support. It will be a surprise for her. , , , I have to pay her so much for everything she did for us, me, and my brother when we were younger, and everything she sacrificed, and she drives us to the rink every time. When my dad worked, she took care of us. I'm very close to my mother, and I'm lucky, and I'm happy about it. "
Two years ago, while undergoing treatment, Capitals players wore lavender Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys during the warm-up. Backström had "Catrin" as a name tag on the back, as did the other Swedes Andre Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson. He was the one who had turned to the Capitals to propose an auction of custom skates with the name, number, and Hockey Fights Cancer logo printed on it. Catrin won her fight against cancer and now Backstrom wants to help others do the same.
"I think it's just a tough business to have that in mind and the possibilities," Backstrom said. "For a person who did not have it, I think it's really hard to understand. I just asked her, and she's the kind of person who's always happy and smiling, but she's been thinking and researching a lot. But I mean, she did a good job and she stayed positive. "