Mar 23, 2021 Hockey's Grand Goal

New Jersey Devils' fundraising brings care and comfort to cancer patients at Clara Maass Medical Center.

New Jersey Devils present Clara Maass with a donation check

At the renovated Infusion Center: Celeste A. Oranchak, Vice President, Foundation and Development; Allison Blitzer, Chairperson, Devils Care Foundation; Ken Daneyko, Devils alumnus; Mary Ellen Clyne, PhD, President and CEO, CMMC; Nessrin Leonida, RN, Oncology Nurse Navigator.

Hockey players are known for their fierce fights on the ice, but their finest moments come when they’re fighting for a good cause. “Giving is at the core of who we are as an organization—our players, coaches, and entire staff,” says Allison Blitzer, Chairperson of the Devils Care Foundation.

One of the greatest of these causes is Hockey Fights Cancer, an initiative of the National Hockey League. For the past seven years, the New Jersey Devils have donated the proceeds from this event to an RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) cancer facility as part of the partnership between the team and RWJBH.

The Devils’ Hockey Fights Cancer event raises money through the game-used stick and jersey auctions, puck and T-shirt sales, and a raffle. “Each year, we partner with a team at RWJBarnabas Health to understand their needs and how our donation from the event would best be suited to help,” Blitzer explains.

In 2019, Hockey Fights Cancer donated a significant amount to the renovation of the Infusion Center at Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC). “We’re delighted that the funds raised were used to allow for additional privacy and comfort to patients and their families in a calm and supportive environment,” Blitzer says.

The renovated Infusion Center recently debuted six privacy bays, each equipped with state-of-the-art infusion chairs as well as other essentials for the comfort of patients and their caregivers.

Funds raised next season through Hockey Fights Cancer will continue to be directed to CMMC’s Infusion Center. “We are very grateful to the New Jersey Devils for their ongoing support, which enhances the care we provide for our patients,” says Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., President, and CEO of CMMC.

Giving and Getting

Hockey Fights Cancer is one of many efforts that are part of the RWJBH-Devils partnership. “We join RWJBarnabas Health as community partners, not just corporate partners,” says Ken Daneyko, a former Devil who won three Stanley Cup championships with the team and is known to fans as “Mr. Devil.”

“For example, our players and staff make holiday visits to hospitals throughout the RWJBarnabas Health system,” Daneyko explains. “During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, we stepped in with a significant donation to their Emergency Response Fund. We host staff and patients in our suites at games, recognizing them publicly. And our practice rink, the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House, hosts thousands of youth hockey players each year and brings the game of hockey to children who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to it.”

Devils players and foundation members say that the good they do is their own reward. “What brings so much pride to the entire organization is the impact we have on patients in RWJBarnabas Health’s care—the happiness on their faces when they see the players or participate during a game,” Daneyko says.

“There is no better experience than seeing with your own eyes the impact of the funds raised,” Blitzer says. “Talking to the staff about much-needed improvements to give the best quality of care to their patients was a memorable moment for me. You hear it in their voices and see it in their faces, and that means everything.”

To learn more about RWJBarnabas Health corporate partnerships, visit To learn more about donating to the Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation, visit