SIOUX CITY | Needless to say, Connor Sundquist is a fan of the Sioux City Musketeers’ Pink In The Rink promotion.
“It provides awareness and support for the cause as well as chance for people like myself to play for a loved one who’s battling,” said the Musketeers’ right wing, whose mother, Melissa Sundquist, is still in treatment for Stage 3 breast cancer.
“It means a lot to my family to see that so many people are so supportive of breast cancer.”
The Musketeers, who will host Tri-City tonight in the eighth annual Pink In The Rink game, have raised $320,000 in the previous seven years of the event.
Connor had completed the 2014-15 season contributing 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) for Select Hockey Academy, then heard the news, like the rest of his family.
Shock and disbelief was his initial reaction.
“I couldn’t comprehend how an innocent woman like her could be given such a terrible result,” said Connor, who has two assists. “I could tell she was unhappy with the news, but she is a very strong person. She didn’t ask anything from us except to love one another.”
A Colorado College recruit, Connor is a rugged skater with good vision, a good hockey IQ and a quick release. His father Erik Sundquist, a former Providence College defenseman, says Connor checks in every day to see how his mother is doing.
“Connor knew it would be a challenge, first of all, to go away from home and play hockey in Iowa,” said Erik. “He is pursuing his dream. He knew this was a step he’d have to take. His mom knows he’s thinking about her. He has focus and he’s going to play his game. The USHL is like a pro league. If you are not performing, you aren’t going to be there very long.”
Connor wears a bracelet that reads “Sunny Strong” to support his mother. He said his family has many supportive friends and family who have reached out and helped his family.
They include Selects Hockey Academy, whose 16 and 18-year old teams will host “Pink In The Rink” games Sunday in South Kent, Connecticut. Connor’s 16-year old brother Corson is a forward on the 16-year old squad.
Connor writes her mother’s initials on the knob of his stick along with a breast cancer ribbon so he can have her strength while he plays.
“I think he’s doing good,” said Melissa. “He’s a strong-minded kid. I love that he is with a group of guys that he loves. He loves the family (Mark and Kaye Held) he’s staying with. As far as I am concerned, I try to give him the least amount of burden. I don’t tell him if I have a bad day. Knowing less is more.”