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Minnesota Swarm To Fight Breast Cancer At The Hive

March 31, 2010 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Minnesota Swarm News Release

SAINT PAUL, MN - The National Lacrosse League's (NLL) Minnesota Swarm will be pretty in pink (and black) against the Edmonton Rush on Saturday, April 3 at 7:35 p.m. CST at Xcel Energy Center. The team will wear eye-catching pink and black uniforms in addition to specially-made pink Reebok helmets for Hive Cares night. Proceeds from the helmet auction will go to local charity Rock the Cure.

This season, the NLL launched its "Black Out Breast Cancer" campaign to join the fight and increase awareness. Each of the league's 11 teams will host a specially-themed "Black Out Breast Cancer Night" during a home game that takes place between March 26 and April 3.

"The National Lacrosse League is proud to join the fight against breast cancer," said NLL Commissioner George Daniel. "Our fans are very passionate about lacrosse, and we know they will rally behind this cause as well."

Minnesota Swarm Owner John Arlotta jumped at the opportunity to host an event that will give back to the community. While the action-packed game and stunning confines of Xcel Energy Center are both great ways to draw attention to different charitable causes, the NLL's efforts have really stood out for Arlotta.

"I thought it was a great idea and a chance for the league to demonstrate our commitment to families and friends who may be fans and also are suffering with this disease or have others they know suffering," Arlotta said.

Special features and events at Hive Cares night will make this a truly unique game experience.

"The pink helmet is what stands out to me. Many leagues have done pink but generally as a small part of their uniform," Arlotta said. "We will have special pink helmets as well as special jerseys. Our league is great in that they allow this type of flexibility."

The Minnesota Swarm has partnered up with two very special and unique local charities - Rock the Cure and Onword Spirit.

For the past eight years, Rock the Cure has been dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. Through its annual concert events, merchandise sales and third party fundraisers, Rock the Cure has proudly donated more than $100,000 in Minnesota. Thanks to its generous sponsors who cover event costs, 100 percent of the money Rock the Cure raises at its events will be donated directly to charities.

"Breast cancer is a disease that affects the whole family when a woman goes through her treatment and recovery," Rock the Cure President Angie Palomo said. "With so many kids attending the Swarm home games, this is a great opportunity to increase their awareness that any organization can get involved in the fight for a cure. And everyone will see that tough guys can wear pink, too!"

Onword Spirit began with the kindness of friends. Schoolteacher Julie Johnson was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer on March 3, 2008. Two friends developed a business plan combining motivational phrases and T-shirts to raise money for local charities and organizations. Onword Spirit is committed to creating a culture of optimism, positive values and generosity through attitude, products and giving back.

Some of the Minnesota Swarm's in-game elements include:

- Pink Thunderstix for the first 3,000 fans

- Pink uniforms for players, Swarm Performance Team, mascots and announcers - Specially-made pink Reebok helmets for Swarm players

- During the game, both the team's pink jerseys and helmets will be auctioned off; proceeds from the helmets will go to Rock the Cure.

- Commemorative Hive Cares "Swarm On" T-shirts with proceeds benefiting Onword Spirit - Pink game programs and in-game lighting

- Video features with players, Swarm Performance Team and Julie Johnson

- Easter bunny handing out pink eggs with prizes

It's not just a special night for the league, fans and organizations involved. Hive Cares night is something the players have been really looking forward to.

"All the guys know what's at stake here - they know it's a good cause. All of the guys appreciate what the league's trying to do," Swarm defenseman and captain Ryan Cousins said.

Hive Cares night and the NLL's initiative to increase breast cancer awareness really provided some perspective for Cousins, who knows how fortunate he and the rest of the Swarm have been.

"We're honored to play professional lacrosse every weekend and be able to do what we do. At the same time, we realize there are so many people out there with harder issues like cancer - we could be a lot worse off," Cousins said. "There are so many other people in way worse situations. It's a real honor for us to participate in this and be involved."

The Minnesota Swarm host Hive Cares night against the Edmonton Rush on Saturday, April 3 at 7:35 p.m. CST at Xcel Energy Center. Purchase the Onword Spirit "Swarm On" T-Shirt Ticket Package for $25 and receive a ticket to the game along with a special commemorative "Swarm On" Onword Spirit T-shirt, $3 of which will go to local charitable foundations including the Grace Fund for Julie Johnson. Tickets are available online at mnswarm.com or by calling 888-MN-SWARM.

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