One of the highlights of 2020 was the first responders charity hockey match — affectionately known as “Guns and Hoses” — that saw local firefighters, police, and more taking part in a no-holds-barred, fun-filled game that featured plenty of hockey action, as well as an on-ice picnic, doughnuts dangling from the police team’s net, one player dramatically changing teams mid-game, and more.
Whether you missed the game but wish you’d been there, or attended and had a great evening, rejoice! Guns and Hoses is returning to the Drylands Arena in Ashcroft on Jan. 22, for another evening of fun, frolics, wacky antics, and more (including some actual hockey).
This year’s event will help Lytton Fire Service rebuild after their entire station was lost in last summer’s devastating fire.
“The teams are raring to go up against each other this year,” said Cst. Richard Wright, Ashcroft RCMP and head coach of the ‘Guns’ team. “Especially as we are engaging the community in support of rebuilding Lytton, which is such a worthy cause.”
Teams will be made up of current and retired firefighters on on side, and current and retired police officers and highway patrol members on the other.
“We intended it to be an annual event, and we’re hoping it will be an annual event going forward (barring another pandemic),” says RCMP Cst. Chris Buckland, the event’s organizer in 2020 and again this year.
“Last year we had intentions to have another one in 2021, and were in the planning process for the event when the COVID regulations changed in December 2020 and prevented any adult sporting events. We were going to do an outdoor game on Barnes Lake and team up with the HUB Online Network to film it and do a stream after with different locations where you could watch it. We waited until the last minute to call it quits on that, but had to give up. It was awful.”
Buckland says he’s been in continuous discussion through social media with organizers from the first year, including firefighters Nancy Duchaine and Tyler Bell, Ashcroft fire chief Josh White, and Margaret Moreira. A new planning partner is Wright, who joined the Ashcroft detachment earlier this year.
“During the summer we threw around some ideas. In early September we started meeting to get this in motion, and we’ve been meeting every two weeks since then.”
Funds raised at the 2020 match went to purchase and install smoke detectors for residents in Ashcroft and Cache Creek. Buckland says that when the group began discussing what they would put the money towards this time, someone mentioned the Lytton Fire Department, which lost their fire hall and most of their equipment during the fire on June 30.
“It was unanimous as soon as it was brought up,” he says. “The intention is to help with rebuilding and purchasing equipment. They lost everything in the fire except their trucks; the fire hall and equipment inside was a total loss. That’s what this event needs to be geared towards this year.”
White is in total agreement.
“We were unanimous about what it should be for. Everyone said ‘Let’s do it.’ The organizers are going all out. This has been Chris’s dream from day one, and it’s a pleasure to be part of it. Fundraising for Lytton is really important for that department. They had the worst-case scenario happen to them.”
Like last year, the 2022 event is going to be in the ballpark of two to three hours long. Buckland says that people should expect to come and enjoy seeing fellow community members in the sort of fun social environment we’ve been held from for so long.
“You can expect some laughs, and to be entertained with some good hockey from players of varying skill levels. And there’ll definitely be some new, fun on-ice activities.” Buckland won’t give away any details, however. “Expect the unexpected.”
White says it definitely won’t be your typical hockey match.
“There’s a lot of comedy interjected into it for laughs. It’s not just for our entertainment; it’s for the crowd. It’s a good time, where we have a laugh and laugh at one another.
“The firefighters are looking forward to it,” he adds. “The Ashcroft fire department already has one win in the pocket, so we’re looking for number two. It’s going to be fun, meeting the guys from the bacon factory up on the hill and educating them once again on how to play the game.”
Admission to the game on Jan. 22 will be by donation, and there will be a puck toss and a raffle. Buckland says a lot of great prizes have already been donated; anyone who has something they would like to donate can contact him at (250) 457-3278. There will also be a concession, with all proceeds from that going to Thompson-Cariboo Minor Hockey.
Anyone who would like to make a cash donation in advance of the game can drop one off at the Ashcroft RCMP detachment or village office; you can also mail a cheque (payable to the Ashcroft Firefighters’ Association) to P.O. Box 281, Ashcroft.
The Ashcroft Firefighter Association is also accepting donations via Etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.