Last year the Town of the Blue Mountains Fire Department hosted a charity hockey game against the local high school, and this year they're hosting the event again, only this time they'll face off against fellow firefighters from the Meaford Fire Department.
The game will take place on Saturday, March 11, at 7 p.m., at the Thornbury Arena, and admission is free. A host of activities and raffles will raise funds for the Beaver Valley Outreach as well as the local Drive Fore Teens driver training program.
“We started it as a way to raise funds for the community. We already donate to the BVO, we already donate to the Drive Fore Teens safe driving program, so it was just another way to raise additional funds,” explained Blue Mountains firefighter Dave Camplin. “We played the students from Georgian Bay Secondary School last year, we're playing the Meaford Fire Department this year, and we might play the Town of the Blue Mountains municipal staff next year.”
The event raised roughly $1,600 last year which was divided between the two charities.
Camplin said that the event is being supported by a number of local sponsors including the Town of the Blue Mountains which has donated the ice time.
Asked how the firefighters chose the two charities to support, Camplin said that one was chosen for the extensive work they do in the community, while the other pays tribute to a tragic car accident a decade ago that left five local youths dead.
“We chose the Beaver Valley Outreach, because they are involved in so many facets of the community,” explained Camplin, who has been a volunteer firefighter for five years. His day job involves working with people with developmental disabilities. “The support for the safe driving program stems from an accident many years ago between Thornbury and Meaford that involved five local youths. It had such an impact on both communities, and anything that a fire department can do for preventative action, we like to support,” Camplin explained.
The Drive Fore Teens program offers a defensive driving course at no charge to participants. Among the skills taught in the driver training program is how to drive defensively in poor conditions.
Among the raffle prizes to be given away during the game are autographed jerseys, and a snow groomer ride at Blue Mountain. There will also be a 'puck toss' and a 'shoot from centre ice' challenge that will also raise funds for the two charities.
Meaford firefighter Trevor Grose told The Independent that he and his fellow Meaford firefighters are looking forward to the game.
“I think this is awesome. I'm kind of ticked that they thought of it before we did,” Grose joked. “It would be nice if it went back and forth every year,” said Grose, who has been a firefighter for a dozen years, and is a mechanic in his day job.
While hockey is a competitive sport, the focus of the event is giving back to the community, so the firefighters don't take the event too seriously as is evidenced by the trophy created for the event.
“It's a hub-cap, a maple syrup pail and a salad bowl. It's called the 'Hoser Cup',” Camplin explained with a laugh.