AKRON, Iowa | Hockey and the Sioux City Musketeers’ annual Pink In The Rink event are two things near and dear to Jodi Netley’s heart.

Although she grew up in Plymouth County, Netley fell in love with the sport of hockey at a young age.

“My brother played for 10-plus years and we had season tickets to the Musketeers when I was a child for probably close to 15 years, so I grew up living at the hockey rink,” Netley said. “When I got married and had kids we started taking our kids to hockey games. Our son, who is now 9, fell in love with hockey the first game we took him to and he now plays.

“I’ve been a lifelong Musketeer fan and I’ve got my family into it. We’ve had season tickets now for three years but we’ve been going quite a few years before that with the kids.”

The Musketeers host the 10th annual Pink in the Rink on Saturday at the Tyson Events Center. Over the past nine years, the event has raised over $450,000 benefitting breast cancer awareness and education efforts through the Susan G. Komen Greater Iowa Siouxland office and UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Imaging and Breast Screening Center.

“My mom always jokes that when I was 4 years old I could tell you every single player on the Musketeer team and their number,” Netley said. “Almost every weekend we were at the old Auditorium, either watching the Musketeers or my brother play hockey. We’d go to my brother’s game, go to supper and back to the auditorium for the Musketeers. That was our winter tradition.”

Netley’s family is busy making new memories, but she says her biggest one was the 1985-86 season when Bob Ferguson-led Musketeers won the Junior A national championship on their home ice. She also adored the organ music produced by Dave Soelberg on the “Mighty Wurlitzer” that has since been moved to the Orpheum Theater.

“We’ve had some friends who have housed hockey players so we’ve gotten real close with some of the players the last several years,” Netley said. “The Musketeers are a great organization and the impact they have on the youth of Sioux City is awesome.”

The Netleys actually applied to house a Musketeer player but families must live within 20 miles of Sioux City to do that and where they live is 25 miles away.

Jodi Netley works as a nurse practitioner at Siouxland Women’s Health Care, which is a huge advocate of the Susan B. Komen and the St. Luke’s screening center.

“I treat women every day for breast cancer and talk with them about their routine screenings so Pink In The Rink has always been a really big deal for me,” Netley said. “We support the organization and we’ve bought something like six jerseys at the auction. The money goes to an awesome foundation and it stays locally here for breast care.

“It hits closer to home for me because I see my patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer. My husband’s aunt was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and within the last few months I have a co-worker who has been diagnosed.”

Last year, fundraising dollars from Pink in the Rink helped fund the purchase of new equipment for the Imaging Center.

“We will be sitting there with our Pink In The Rink shirt on and buttons in honor of my husband’s aunt and our friend and co-worker,” Netley said. “It’s going to be a real emotional night for me.”

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