Hockey Fights Cancer: Moustache Classic Fundraiser for Movember

The NHL logo. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
The NHL logo. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

There are hockey tournaments, then there are hockey tournaments that serve a greater purpose. What a team of passionate hockey fans largely from the tri-state area led by Matt Caputo is accomplishing through the Moustache Classic is a remarkable display of philanthropy.

On November 21st, 2020, the second annual Moustache Classic hockey tournament will be held in the Danbury Arena in Danbury, Connecticut. 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Movember Foundation, the world’s largest non-profit organization for men’s health with a global focus on mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer prevention. So far this year’s Moustache Classic has raised $9,275 for Movember and is currently at the top of the leaderboard in the NHL Hockey Fights Cancer Challenge, according to the Movember foundation’s website. And the tournament hasn’t even happened yet.

“I always wanted to do something with the Movember Foundation,” says Matt Caputo.

Caputo, 36, is a Operations manager in advertising and communications from Queens, New York. A life long hockey player and fan, Caputo drew the inspiration to help others through this event while losing a close friend named Richard Parker. Parker, who was a widely popular figure in Queens with a concert series called “Taking Back Queens,” sadly took his own life a few years ago. Caputo wasn’t sure exactly what he would look to accomplish at the time, but he felt like he needed to do something big to help others in need.

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“I wanted to do something to keep his memory alive. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about the way he did things that he was passionate about,” says Matt Caputo speaking about Richard Parker.

What Matt Caputo is most passionate about is the sport of hockey. Hockey brings people together like no other sport and the friendships built through this small community can last a lifetime. A community that has given Caputo and many others so much. The commemorate and bonds built through everything from beer leagues to tournaments to pickup games is an important network that has helped in good times, great conversations and support through tough mental health times in particular for many.

A day trip to see the growing hockey community in the Danbury area, play hockey in the Danbury Arena, visit the famous Wesco Sports store, eat chicken wings from TK’s American Cafe and visit to the Charter Oak brewery with close friend Wade Karshis is where Caputo drew up the vision. A plan that originally started out with gathering a large group of friends to enjoy the same fun that Caputo and Karshis enjoyed that day turned into an event that eventually served a greater purpose, choosing to include a fundraiser effort for the Movember Foundation.

“We wanted to promote the idea that beer league hockey is a powerful support network of friends and teammates that can be very powerful in providing support when life happens.” – says Caputo.

The first Moustache Classic took place on November 16, 2019. That event had about 40 people between players and volunteers and had an All Star Weekend feel, with one ceremonial fundraiser game. The response to that event was overwhelmingly positive and raised $7,000 for the Movember Foundation, completely blowing the doors off of all expectations going into the event. The hockey community responded with a tremendous effort of support towards the cause. The day before the event took place, the Movember Foundation sent Caputo as it’s representative to open the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York City.

Caputo was a novice at putting together large hockey events and tournaments at the time but knew that the Moustache Classic needed to be an annual event, and needed to be bigger to include more people who wanted to support, contribute and play. People who not only want to give support and take pride in the event but can use the support themselves. The spirit and meaning of the event has helped many people deal with their own sobriety issues, bouts with cancer and mental health issues while other participants and supporters fight for their loved ones affected around them.

“I am having people come to me and tell me that ‘I am glad you are doing this. I struggle with wanting to live sometimes,” says Matt Caputo

This year’s Moustache Classic now has four teams of 18 players on each roster, 16 skaters and 2 goalies on each team. Everyone from all levels of playing will be included in the event from international players to semi-pro players to players who have never played in a tournament before and everything in between. Even Doug Smith from the movie Goon will be participating. Through all the challenges while the hockey world and life in general combats the novel Coronavirus, this year’s event promises to double the proceeds made for the Movember Foundation and maybe even triple the production.

Matt Caputo credits their main sponsor Champion Elevator, a local elevator repair and maintenance company, for being the biggest reason why they were able to host both years of this event to this magnitude. Along the way gaining support from hockey brands and organizations including the New York Islanders, Pro Stock Hockey, Howie’s Hockey Tape, Violent Gentlemen, SuperDeker, ButtEndz, iSlide and Boost Oxygen drinks. Also custom jerseys made specifically for the Moustache Classic the past 2 seasons from Two For Roughing Designs. Raffles and other items are being sold to raise money towards this wonderful event.

The amount of effort that has gone into these events from Matt Caputo and his team has not only brought people together, it has also helped raise money for the fight against men’s suicide and cancer prevention through the Movember Foundation. This event is much more than your typical fun hockey tournament. The purpose of this event is bigger than hockey itself and helps a tremendous amount of people along the way.

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If you would like to donate towards the Moustache Classic, click here. For more information on the Moustache Classic, visit their social media accounts:

Instagram account: @moustacheclassic

Twitter handle: @moustachepuck

Facebook account: Moustache Classic Hockey.