Jacob Markstrom used his time in Utica well to prepare for his current role in the NHL. And now he's using his time in the NHL to do a good deed for autism awareness.

Markstrom starred for the Utica Comets during the 2014-15 AHL season, earning a promotion to the parent squad Vancouver Canucks, where he's in his third full season between the pipes in the big league. He and the Canucks are both going above and beyond the call of duty to promote autism awareness.

The 6'6" Swede this week sported new artwork on his goaltending mask, with some jigsaw puzzle pieces, which is the primary symbol for autism. He wore the special mask Tuesday on World Autism Awareness Day in a 5-4 shoot-out loss against Las Vegas.

The mask will be auctioned to benefit the Canucks Autism Network. And Vancouver's Rogers Arena will become the NHL's first autism-aware stadium in Canada, offering special services and resources to autistic fans while they're attending games.

The initiatives have special meaning for Canucks' (and former Comets') coach Travis Green, whose own son is autistic. A lot of hockey fans in the Mohawk Valley are pulling for Green, Markstrom and the Canucks for a LOT of reasons.


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