Brendan Smith's Kancer Jam Promises A Day of Philanthropy and Fun with New Jersey Devils Teammates

New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith is sponsoring a special event to raise money in the fight against cancer. There's still time to play games with Devils players.

Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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The New Jersey Devils are always involved in philanthropic events. Charity is essential in what the Devils do, especially when it comes to the city of Newark. Whether supporting local businesses, visiting children in the hospital, or providing opportunities for underprivileged youth, the Devils try to diversify their impact. On January 7, 2024, Devils defenseman Brendan Smith is taking part in another charitable effort, this time to raise money for breast cancer research.

The organization Jam Kancer in the Kan partnered with Smith to host the Brendan Smith Kancer Jam. It's a massive tournament involving the Devils players all participating in the wonderful game of KanJam. Since its creation in Buffalo, KanJam has been rocketing in popularity as a go-to beach and yard game. Now, Devils fans have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play alongside their heroes.

Brendan Smith's first-ever Kancer Jam takes place on Sunday, January 7th in Newark, New Jersey (the exact location will be announced soon, and this article will be updated with that information). Thirty-two teams will compete in the tournament, with many teams getting a chance to play alongside a New Jersey Devils player. Each team raised $2,222 to take part in the event, and there are only three slots left as of this writing. Fans better hurry if they want to take part in this great event!

Pucks and Pitchforks had the opportunity to speak with Smith prior to the event, and his excitement was palpable. He told us he was looking for something to give back to the community. There are many excuses why these events are hard to put on the calendar. The season is a grind. Kids are at home, and there's always the possibility that a team makes a move. Still, it was important for Smith to get this event going.

"I know with my wife when we were in Detroit we would do a lot of hospital visits, but then I was traded. For me, I always wanted to give back with how I use my platform. This is just another way to do it. I'm pleased with how things are going and excited as well."

Brendan Smith

Smith says the idea came when he ran into New York Islanders star Anders Lee at a wedding. Lee was the host of the last KanJam event, which took place in September of this year. They traded contacts, and Smith immediately wanted to get involved. It's funny how opportunity meets desire, and we get an event like this where everyone wins.

Cancer is a topic that impacts just about everyone. Money for cancer research and its eventual demise is universally desired. That's what makes this event special. The Devils just celebrated Hockey Fights Cancer night on November 25th. This is another way the Devils and its players are helping in the fight.

The disease has personally impacted Smith. He lost both his grandparents to breast cancer. His grandfather, Lester Smith, Sr., played a huge role in Brendan Smith's hockey career. When he passed in 2015, it left a lasting mark on Brendan.

"My grandfather and grandmother were there to take us to the games. My grandfather was the driver, and my grandmother was the one who would drive us... To be able to give back and honor them is a great feeling for myself and my family."

Brendan Smith

We also spoke to Jamey Crimmins, the man who devised the idea to use KanJam to raise money to fight cancer. His first event was in the backyard of his friend's home in Scotch Plains. This event is New Jersey born and bred, and now it's joining together with Jersey's Team to keep fighting cancer.

"It’s amazing how this simple game has brought thousands of people together to commit to a cause and support families affected by cancer. "

Jamey Crimmins

The event comes with a lofty goal to raise $100,000 for this week's event. While lofty, with the tickets and the auction, it's definitely attainable. This organization has worked with NHL players before, including Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh, but this is the first time the organization heads back to its Jersey roots with the Devils. We know why cancer is the cause, but why KanJam?

" Anyone can play frisbee, and unlike playing cornhole, both teammates are playing at the same time. It's non-stop action and really fun."

Jamey Crimmins

Can't argue with that logic! The event has helped kids like Fenov Pierre-Lewis, who has been battling Stage 4 Neuroblastoma cancer for most of his life. Every event comes with a banner with something he said; "Even the smallest amount of help and sympathy that you can provide to a person with cancer will mean the absolute world."

On top of the event, a special auction with Devils memorabilia and exclusive experiences will be held. We'll be on-site to cover all the festivities. When talking with Smith, we were curious about who might have been the best in frisbee practice. While he said Dougie Hamilton looked really good before his injury, his answer to who he thought would probably be the best won't surprise you.

"If I had to guess, I bet you Nico (Hischier) might be the ringer. He's just good at everything... He's just a model citizen in everything we do."

Brendan Smith

Smith says if Hischier makes the event, he will put him on the other side of the bracket. Remember, there is still time to join this amazing event. With only three spots left, we expect them to go VERY fast. Click here to see what you need to join. If you miss out, still come out and see the Devils players as you've never seen them before! The team has been practicing their frisbee skills, so come out and see how they do in the tournament!

"When you get to rub elbows with players and just hang out and chat... even about life not about hockey, you don't really get that anywhere else. Just to ask them what's their favorite color, you don't get that (with other events). This is more of a shoulders back, have fun and throw the frisbee around and compete (event). "

Brendan Smith