Hockey Game Versus USF Helps Curtis Cross-Check Cancer

Published: Nov 11, 2011
The Nov. 15 University of Tampa versus University of South Florida matchup at the St. Petersburg Times Forum will be the first time UT’s hockey team has played a game on National Hockey League ice.
The Nov. 15 University of Tampa versus University of South Florida matchup at the St. Petersburg Times Forum will be the first time UT’s hockey team has played a game on National Hockey League ice.
Curtis McIntyre '13 is battling Lymphoblasitc T-Cell Lymphoma, an extremely rare form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Curtis McIntyre '13 is battling Lymphoblasitc T-Cell Lymphoma, an extremely rare form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
The Nov. 15 University of Tampa versus University of South Florida matchup at the St. Pete Times Forum will be the first time UT’s hockey team has played a game on National Hockey League ice.

It’s the second in back-to-back games against the University of South Florida, the first set of games played against the Tampa rival as an official American College Hockey Association game.

And while UT’s one-year-old team, with an 8-3-1 record, is thrilled to be playing in such a venue against a rival in what should be an exciting match, they are also humbled to be hitting the ice without one of their team mates, forward Curtis McIntyre ’13.

“He’s helped out almost more than any other player and really wants to see the team grow,” said Mark Baccoli ’13, a communication major and vice president of the team.

McIntyre is battling Lymphoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma, an extremely rare form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He came to UT in Fall 2010 but withdrew in Spring 2011 to return to his Maryland home and family because of the cancer. He fought hard over the summer and was cleared to return to UT this fall. On Sept. 20, he got an email from his mother that he was in remission.

“I remember when he got the news. We were with him, and it was just a big party,” said Jenn Velandia ’12, a biology major and close friend of McIntyre’s.
Velandia and Charlotte “Charly” Stinson ’12 were friends with Baccoli, McIntyre’s roommate, and became quick friends with McIntyre, who transferred his love (rather, “obsession”) of hockey to them.

“It was one of those instant friendships,” said Velandia. “We molded together.”

“He is a huge Washington Capitals fan. I think it’s the sport of it that he loves,” said Stinson. “He’s not in it for the violence, just for the love of the game.”

McIntyre, a sport management major with a minor in business administration, organized an October game against Embry-Riddle into a benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. His goal was to raise a modest $100 — he ended up with $450.

“He was so happy,” said Boccoli.

McIntyre travelled home in mid-October for a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser and on his return to UT, started to feel poorly. Velandia took him to the hospital. The following weekend, he flew back home where he has been battling with a relapse and grueling recovery that will include a bone marrow transplant.

“It’s all just happened so fast,” said Velandia, who with Stinson approached head coach Stephen Kucera, an associate professor of biology, with the idea of making the USF game a benefit for McIntyre called Curtis Cross-Checks Cancer.

The students will be selling $5 bracelets that say “Fight Blood Cancers for Curtis” and raffle chances for prizes like a signed Tampa Bay Lightning jersey and gift cards. The McIntyre family has asked that proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Those interested in donating should contact Velandia and Stinson. McIntyre’s progress can be followed on CaringBridge.

“This night at the forum is a way for the team to say thank you, we’re thinking of you and we’ll help you through this,” Baccoli said.

The Tuesday night game has free admission. Gates open at 7 p.m., and the game starts at 8 p.m. The forum is located at 401 Channelside Drive.


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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