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Canada women's hockey to wear Livestrong jerseys

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 1, 2013 at 11:23 am •  Published: April 1, 2013

OTTAWA (AP) — The Canadian women's hockey team will proudly wear black and yellow Livestrong jerseys in its first game of the world championships.

Still, players and coaches harbored conflicting emotions about the cancer charity's connection to Lance Armstrong after the cyclist admitted to doping.

"There are going to be comments and people who are going to associate it with Lance Armstrong," coach Dan Church said. "I asked those same questions. I wanted to know about where the money was going. I wanted to know about that relationship.

"My perspective personally is Livestrong may be the greatest achievement Lance Armstrong had as an athlete. Beyond what he did on the bike and winning and beyond his cheating and what's happened to his reputation lately, this is a really positive thing. It's important for us to look at what it does for the millions of people as opposed to what one person did."

Nike's line of Livestrong apparel raises money for the organization established 16 years ago by Armstrong, a cancer survivor. The cycling star's relationship with the charity ended last year after revelations that he took performance-enhancing drugs and lied about it for years.

While distancing itself from Armstrong, the Livestrong Foundation continues to raise money to help people with cancer through its programs and services.

And that cause is why Canada's Olympic champions will be wearing the gear Tuesday night against the rival United States in Ottawa.

Church's father died of cancer in January at age 70.

Forward Jayna Hefford's father died in 2007 of the disease.

Captain Hayley Wickenheiser's sister is a cancer survivor.

Defenseman Tessa Bonhomme, who is sponsored by Nike, is a poster girl for the Livestrong jersey campaign. Her grandmother is a breast cancer survivor.

"It's hard because growing up, Lance Armstrong was a huge hero for me," forward Caroline Ouellette said. "I read all his books. It was such a story of hope. I bought so many Livestrong clothes in my life and it was just like my heart was broken.

"But when I see Tessa wearing the jersey, I feel pride because for me, she's someone that lives strong. She's the message we need to send to every child that should take on sport and the benefits that sport can bring and also the help that foundation can give to people that are battling with cancer."

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