In memory of Mnatsyan

26 November 2020

It’s almost the end of November – and that means it’s time to review the results of ‘Movember 2020’. For more than 20 years now, this charity has encouraged men to grow moustaches during November, raising funds and awareness of men’s health issues – particularly prostate and testicular cancers, and mental health concerns.

KRS Movember 1

It’s a tradition that began in Australia and has gone on to travel the world, a lighthearted way of drawing attention to a serious global problem. Keeping one’s upper lip warm as winter approaches is only part of the story; a raft of charity fundraisers carries on in parallel to support Movember’s work in funding research and treatment for health issues. By the end of last year, an estimated $885 million had been raised by the campaign.

The sporting world was quick to embrace the cause. From individuals to teams, and sometimes entire leagues, Movember has grown as quickly as the moustaches themselves. In the hockey world, the NHL has been an enthusiastic supporter of the idea.

This year, of course, NHLers have been out of action in November and that facial hair just isn’t there. But in the KHL, our season continues and that gives us a chance to join in with this worthwhile cause. Since Kunlun Red Star has perhaps the most multicultural roster in the league, with players representing Europe, Asia and North America, it makes perfect sense for our team to get behind an initiative that tackles illnesses that transcend national boundaries. After all, as the dramatic events of this year have shown, health is one thing that nobody should take for granted and anyone can suddenly face medical misfortune.

As the Dragons prepare for their final games in November, welcoming Sibir and Avangard to Arena Mytischshi, we’re taking the chance to put the focus on Movember’s good work. Our players will take to the ice wearing special patches on the jerseys, offering their support to everyone who is grappling with these diseases and remembering those who fell to these conditions. It’s a subject particularly close to one of our opponents, Sibir, which was touched by exactly this tragedy: last year, defenseman Samvel Mnatsyan died at the age of just 29, felled by cancer. His illness followed a spinal injury, which led to a tumor that ultimately took the life of a brave competitor and a great guy. We honor his memory, and hope that as Movember unites ever more people with each passing year, we will see more people recover from the illness that took Samvel.

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