Missouri State Ice Bears to ‘Pack the rink with pink’ this weekend in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The #2 Missouri State Ice Bears will host the #1 University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos this weekend in a clash of the Western Collegiate Hockey League’s (WCHL) two top teams. 

The game is also ‘Pack the rink with pink’ night at Jordan Valley Ice Park. According to the Ice Bears General Manager Ryan Armstrong, the team has been partnering with the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks (BCFO) for approximately nine years. 

Each night, the Ice Bears will wear pink colored breast cancer awareness jerseys and hold a silent auction during the games. After Saturday night’s contest, the jerseys will be auctioned to the highest bidders and all proceeds will go to the BCFO.

Armstrong told The Heartlander that one of the traditions for the ‘Pack the rink with Pink’ night is that the ice rink crew actually colors the ice pink. Using a 200 gallon mixture of water, white paint and pink coloring, the crew sprays the entire rink with the solution and turns the ice completely pink. 

The coating of pink paint is applied onto the ice until the crew finds the right color temperature and tone. Another layer of ice is then frozen over to coat and seal the paint job. 

“You can’t put it up and take it down overnight. It is a multi-day process,” said Armstrong. 

Armstrong said that although there is no glare from pink pigmentation of the ice, it does make the puck harder to detect.  

“When you think about an ice hockey rink, it is 99% white surface with a black puck,” Armstrong said. “There is a lot of contrast, right? You can definitely spot where the puck is, where if you have a darker surface it makes it a little bit trickier to see the puck. The players will adapt to it pretty quickly, but the goal tenders will have a little harder time finding their angles and viewpoints for different positioning. It does create a little bit of a challenge.”

Friday’s puck drop is at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s puck drop is at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 to stand along the glass boards, students are $4 and any child wearing a youth hockey jersey is permitted into all MSU Ice Bears games free of charge. Armstrong said that the Bears like giving back to their community and permitting youth into games for free has been one of their main missions as a club. 

The team follows the same rules and regulations as the NCAA, though it is currently only a club sport at MSU. Armstrong also told The Heartlander that 75% of his Division I and Division III players are academic scholars with above a 3.2 GPA and are currently on MSU’s dean’s list. 

The Ice Bears are looking to support men’s health this December, and would like to support a mental health campaign later this season. There are also plans to bring back the popular local police vs. local fire hockey game, which was a huge success just a few years ago.

For more information on the Missouri State Ice Bears, you can visit their website

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