(ISN) – ANTIGONISH, NS – The StFX X-Men hockey team is very pleased to lend their support to the ‘Team Stock’ initiative for former X-Men hockey athlete Dean Stock. Dean, a native of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., was recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
Dean’s brother PJ Stock, also a former X-Man, and current Hockey Night in Canada analyst, recently told the story of his brother on a Rogers Hometown Hockey national television broadcast in an effort to bring the fight against ALS back into the forefront, and help raise awareness for this disease.
The Hometown Hockey episode created significant awareness of Dean’s story, touching a lot of people nationally, including X-Men head coach Brad Peddle, a former teammate of both Dean and PJ during their time at StFX.
“I had the opportunity to play with both Dean and PJ and am glad to call both friends,” says Peddle. “They were both great teammates, very good players and even better guys, and we will absolutely support the Stock family in any way we can.”
StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson echoes the sentiment, commenting “It’s at times like this when the StFX community pulls together to support one of our own. Dean definitely left his mark at StFX and he has been making us proud ever since. We want the Stocks to know the X family is solidly behind them and will do whatever we can to offer our support.”
As the X-Men are set to host the CIS University Cup national championship in Halifax this week, they plan to use this platform to help generate more awareness and support for Dean amongst StFX alumni, hockey supporters and fans from all over Canada.
StFX Athletics will be selling Team Stock logoed X-Men hockey T-shirts with all proceeds being donated to the Stock family. Shirts have already been popular at AUS playoff games in Antigonish and cost $20.
The Team Stock initiative will also benefit from proceeds from the 50/50 ticket sales and a silent auction being organized by the host organizing committee over the course of the University Cup championship weekend.
Since the end of the AUS regular season, the X-Men have been wearing ‘Team Stock’ stickers on their helmets as means to show their support for Dean. The stickers will remain in place throughout the national championship. The team has embraced Dean’s battle against ALS and all X-Men athletes, coaches and staff have been wearing the ‘Team Stock’ T-shirts leading up to the CIS University Cup.
Both Dean and PJ Stock will be in Halifax for the Friday night quarterfinal game featuring the host StFX X-Men and the Alberta Golden Bears. They will participate in opening ceremony events and will pay a visit to the Auction House restaurant, branded StFX House for the championship, on Friday afternoon in a pre-game rally for StFX alumni and fans.
Dean played with the X-Men for three seasons from 1998 to 2001, collecting 64 points (28 goals and 36 assists) and 199 penalty minutes in 78 AUS regular season games. He was the X-Men’s most improved player in 1999-00 and received team most valuable player honors in 2000-01. PJ Stock played one season for the X-Men in 1996-97, earning AUS all-rookie honors and the X-Men unsung hero award before being signed by the New York Rangers in 1997 and going on to enjoy a seven year NHL/AHL career.
“Dean was a very popular player and leader during his time at StFX and an important part in building the program to where it is today,” comments Brad Peddle. “As part of our X-Men hockey and StFX family, we will do whatever we can to support both him and his family. Dean was a very fierce competitor on the ice and we certainly know he will show the same fight in his battle against ALS.”