By Marissa Alter
ROCKFORD (WREX) - For one moment, the usual deafening noise at the IceHogs' home games is gone, replaced with silence to remember 11-year-old Sydney Ives. Sydney lost her fight with brain cancer last weekend. She was an IceHogs supporter her whole life. The 'Hogs even made her an honorary team member last May. IceHogs GM Mark Bernard said with her passing Saturday, it only felt right to remember her at tonight's game.
"She was a very special little girl who touched a lot of people in the area but had a profound effect on us here at the IceHogs," Bernard explains.
In Sydney's honor, the team wears "Ivestrong" stickers on their helmets. That was the family's motto during Sydney's year-and-a-half-long fight. Sydney's nameplate and honorary jersey hang in the IceHogs' locker room. They'll stay there the rest of the season.
"She battled so hard for 18 months and the courage and bravery she showed during that 18 months is going to provide inspiration to others," Bernard adds. "I know it's provided inspiration to me and put perspective in my life, and we had a long chat with our team about it."
Donation bins for the Ivestrong Foundation are set up at the game tonight and tomorrow. IceHogs' center Bracken Kearns has his own way to help. He'll donate $20 for every goal he scores this season.
"It's a good way to get me to try and score some goals," Kearns explains. "And it's a good way to not only raise a little bit of money, but also to bring awareness to the cause."
"We're going to play hard for her and her memory, and she's going to be our teammate forever."
Fans who want to contribute can go to Saturday night's IceHog's game or you can donate to the Ivestrong Foundation through the 'Hogs by calling (815)-986-6465.
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