Ice hockey tournament benefits family of player felled by cancer

If you go

What: Members of the over-35 hockey league will hold a second day of the fundraiser for Chris Brown's family. Brown, 38, died in August after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

When: Today, with games beginning at 10:15 a.m.

Where: Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex, 3103 Papermill Road, Spring Township

To donate: Visit

Chris Brown had a passion for hockey for almost his entire life, and after he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer, his longtime friends saw no better way to help support his family than an ice hockey tournament.

After battling the illness for several months, Brown passed away Aug. 24, and organizers said Saturday's Old Timers Benefit Tournament at Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex in Spring Township sought to raise money to help support Brown's family, including his wife, Christie, daughter, Savannah, 6, his son, Aaron, 4, and stepdaughter, Kayla Himmelreich, 14.Clad in jerseys of Brown's favorite hockey team, the Boston Bruins, Savannah and Aaron excitedly dropped the ceremonial first pucks of the tournament, which were retrieved by Ben Nevius and Derek Holland, two of Brown's closest friends.In addition, Nevius was wearing Brown's jersey number, 77, which was also displayed on a banner hanging from the glass."He was always up for having fun," Holland, who helped organize the event, said when asked to describe Brown."A man of few words," added friend and fellow event organizer Justin Pfeffer."Few words, but good words," Holland added, the two sharing a laugh.Friends also described Brown as a devoted family man and a good hockey player.Games continued throughout the day Saturday and will continue today, featuring six over-35 men's league teams totaling about 80 players. In addition, a silent auction and basket raffle was held; it featured autographed hockey memorabilia, Philadelphia Flyers tickets and other assorted donations. In all, over 50 items were available for either auction or raffle.An online fundraising page has also raised more than $8,200 in donations.Planning for the tournament began during Brown's battle to help cover some of his medical costs, but after his passing, the focus shifted to helping to support his family."He wasn't able to work at that time, so we wanted to help his family as best we could," Pfeffer said. "Once things got worse, it stayed the same, but we wanted to make it more intense and larger scale so we could help as much as possible."Pfeffer and Holland said they hope the event will become an annual one in memory of their friend, as well as to support others in the hockey world afflicted with similar illnesses."The cause is going to go on," Pfeffer said.Contact Matt Carey: 610-371-5038 or [email protected]

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