There were slapshots and smiles as the Lloydminster RCMP defeated the Lloydminster Fire Department by a score of 15-10 at the first annual Battle of the Badges charity hockey game, held at the Centennial Civic Centre on Feb. 21.
“I think it was actually 15-9 but they gave them an extra one,” joked RCMP Insp. Suki Manj, who helped organize the match. “I think we flattered them a little bit, but they were pretty good.”
Around 300 spectators attended the event, which raised approximately $4,000.
The winning RCMP team chose to allocate $3,000 to the their cause of choice, Midwest Victim Services. The remaining $1,000 went to the Lloydminster Sexual Assault and Information Centre, the charity championed by the Fire Department.
Manj says he was pleased with the turnout and the money raised and hopes to hold more charity sporting events in the future.
“One of the things that were going to try this summer is a baseball slo-pitch tournament with first responders and any other (groups),” he said. “The goal is to raise some funds for non-profit organizations.”
He says the police had some valuable practice time, which may have been an important factor in the match.
“We got together a few times and played some scrimmage games,” he said. “We had one game against the Kitscoty midget team and it was a real good test. It was a 5-5 tie.”
Fire Chief Todd Gustavson coached the firefighters’ team. As the clock was winding down he tried an unconventional tactic, letting his entire team on the ice at once.
“You noticed that towards the end of the game I shortened the bench a little bit,” he said.
“It’s an interesting strategy, not one that’s always (used) in hockey, but it worked.”
Gustavson says he looks forward to a rematch next year, and expects an even larger audience for Battle of the Badges 2016.
“I was very impressed. The guys had a lot of fun, the RCMP had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs,” he said. “At the end of the day, everybody walked out of it with a donation, so I thought it was great.”
Unfortunately for the firefighters, they wound up on the losing end of a friendly wager made before the game.
“Apparently our guys have got to go do some ride alongs with the police to find out what real work is about,” said Gustavson.