Cops and firemen will be battling it out on the ice, Saturday, Feb.18 in the annual Battle of the Badges match. No matter the outcome, the Cops for Cancer fund will be the real winner.
George Johnston of the Hope Fire Department has gathered his team together, while the RCMP are still piecing together their squad.
“We’ve got Aaron Saito coming from the Richmond Fire Department,” said Johnston, who retired from the RCMP in 2004.
“Aaron started out in Hope and he’ll be bringing along two fellow firefighters from Richmond. We’ve also got Dave Lane, Mike Younie, Brian Druet and Richie Wells from Hope and Dan Friesen from the Yale firefighters. Then there’s Ferd Alcos, Dusty Smith, Rick Riddell and Tom DeSorcy’s son, Mike Gendreau. And our goalie is the new CAO of the District of Hope, John Fortoloczky. John has played some serious hockey for the Canadian Armed Forces.”
Const. Francois Lewis, of the Hope RCMP detachment, has been stationed in Hope since 2008 and he has played in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 versions of the event. Lewis grew up in Chilliwack, where he played minor hockey to the midget level.
“We don’t have that many hockey players at the Hope detachment, so we’ll be drawing from the local detachment first, then from the upper valley,” said Lewis, adding a playful dig: “We don’t bring in anyone from North Vancouver [or Richmond], like George has.
“In 2009, the cops won — then in 2010, they killed us, 12-1,” recalled Lewis. “Last year it was close, but we beat them.
“We usually get at least a hundred people in the stands,” added Lewis.
All of the proceeds from the game, including 50/50 draws, will go to Cops for Cancer.
“This is such a fun event to watch and for a great cause,” said RCMP media relations officer, Const. Tracy Wolbeck. “Police and firefighters often cross paths in a routine day and a real bond is built among emergency service workers. It’s fun to watch that dynamic play out during three periods of good hockey — and it’s really a nice way to spend a winter afternoon.”
Funds raised will specifically go to the Hope RCMP member taking part in the Tour de Valley bike ride in September.
“All members of this crew have a steep fundraising requirement that they have to fulfill before becoming part of the team,” added Wolbeck.
Battle of the Badges 2012 will be held at the Hope Arena at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Hope RCMP detachment or at various businesses around town. Tickets for adults are $10 and students are $5. There is also a family rate of $20 for two adults and two kids. Children two years and under are free.