Young goalie making saves to beat cancer

  • Jay McGinnis standing with his father, Paul McGinnis, after winning a championship for the Franklin County Hockey Association. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/11/2019 8:59:51 PM
Modified: 9/11/2019 9:06:36 PM

Jay McGinnis wants to be more than a hockey player.

The nine-year-old is already a budding star in the Franklin County Hockey Association as a goalie, playing a year up on the PeeWee Green team comprised of 11- and 12-year-olds, but his best work may be coming off the ice.

McGinnis signed up for the October Saves Goalie Challenge, a fundraiser that raises money for cancer research during the month of October.

“We found out about it last year,” Jay’s father, Paul McGinnis, said. “We were watching TV and one of the Boston stations did a story on a goalie from the Worcester Raiders who raised $6,000, and after we saw it, Jay said it was something he wanted to do.”

October Saves’ slogan is “Every poke check and glove save can help your team win a game but it can also help raise money to fight cancer.”

To get on board, goalies register and make a page on the October Saves website. On that page, donors have two options — one is to make a flat donation to the charity, or the other is to make a pledged donation where you pledge to give a certain amount of money for every save the player makes during October.

The money then goes toward cancer research, with the funds raised specifically benefiting research for both women’s and pediatric cancers including the Lara’s League Women’s Cancer Research Fund at the Inova Schar Cancer Institute, Life with Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, CHEO and Stand up 2 Cancer. The donations also help fund the October Saves Scholarship with The Goalie Guild.

Knowing some who have struggled with cancer, it made joining the Goalie Saves challenge an easy decision for Jay.

“It’s my first time doing October Saves,” Jay said. “I started to get involved in doing October Saves because of my dad’s sister, she passed from cancer. I have a friend that knows someone my age who has childhood cancer. I want to do my part and stop childhood cancer from taking other people’s lives.”

Jay enjoys playing goalie because of the challenges the position presents.

He got into it during one of his first years playing hockey and fell in love with the position. After wanting to give it a try, his parents bought him pads, and since then, he’s continued to practice and improve each year.

In net, a goalie must be alert of everything going on around him, in addition to having fast reflexes.

The challenge of playing goalie has pushed McGinnis to take on challenges outside of the ice, another reason he got involved with October Saves.

“It’s a more challenging position but that’s what I like,” Jay said. “I like challenging things, I like challenging myself to do more and be better than the last practice I was at.”

Jay has been handing out letters at practice to attempt to raise awareness for the charity.

His gregarious personality has helped him bring in donations for the cause.

“He likes talking to people, he loves doing things,” Paul said. “This is one of the ways he wants to give back.”

To make a donation to McGinnis’ page, go to

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