The Hurricanes' Rod Brind'Amour didn't finish first in the Pete Friesen 5K Fun Run today at the RBC Center, but the captain was "low Cane" and was one of 34 team members and staff who participated.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Eastern N.C. chapter, and more than 1,000 people turned out on a sunny, steamy day to be a part of it.
"I don't do any long-distance running but I wanted to do this," Brind'Amour said. "The more guys who support this, the bigger it will be and help increase awareness.
"The theme today, and what we're doing this for, is to raise awareness for leukemia and cancer. When you know someone who has been touched by this, know the family touched by it, that makes it even more special and you want to be a part of it."
The family touched by it was Mark and Kate Rowe, whose Raleigh neighbors include Canes coach Peter Laviolette. The Rowes' daughter, Julia, recently died at age 8 after suffering from leukemia.
Julia Rowe's courageous fight against the disease helped inspire the Canes in their Stanley Cup run in 2006. One team motto was "Relentless"and Laviolette gave out bottles of "Relentless" wine to the Canes' leading players during the run.
"The Hurricanes have made this a community and the community has come together to support a great cause," Mark Rowe said. "It's a terrible disease and affects a lot of kids and adults.
"Losing anybody to this disease is a tragedy. Certainly we've been affected by that this year and we're just so happy to see such support from the community."
Among the Canes making the run were Brind'Amour, Justin Williams, Scott Walker, Ray Whitney, Chad LaRose, Cam Ward and Niclas Wallin. Former Cane Mike Commodore, now with Columbus, was a late arrival but dutifully ran the 5K course alone.
Laviolette ran, as did the Canes assistant coaches. Jim Rutherford, the team's general manager, was among those who walked the course.
"Having Canes fans, the players, the staff, management, all these people come out is a great showing for something I think is a very positive event in the community, and for a great cause, obviously," Laviolette said.
Friesen, the team's head trainer, came away pleased.
"It was a great turnout. You can't ask for anything better," he said. "It is growing, slowly but surely. I'm pretty sure we'll be able to generate over $20,000 for [Leukemia & Lymphoma Society]."
Perhaps the oldest runner was Ed Hamilton of Greensboro. Hamilton, 80, said he has made it the last two years and also won a giveaway prize -- a Justin Williams autographed stick.
"Wouldn't have missed it," he said.