New name, great cause

By Geoff Lee

February 2, 2016 11:57 AM

Putting on their best faceoff smiles are Lloydminster RCMP Inspector Suki Manj, left, and fire chief Jordan Newton as Mayor Rob Saunders waits for the signal to drop the puck at the RBC Cup outdoor rink at city Hall, Friday. The two forces will face off for real in the Todd Gustavson Memorial Hockey Tournament on Feb. 21.

The Todd Gustavson Memorial Hockey Tournament is the new name for the Battle of the Badges charity hockey game in honour of former Lloydminster fire chief Todd Gustavson.
Players from the Lloydminster Fire Department and Lloydminster RCMP will face off at the Centennial Civic Centre Feb. 21 in the inaugural match, with all proceeds in support of Big Brother Big Sisters and Citizens on Patrol.
Fire chief Jordan Newton and RCMP inspector Suki Manj took part in a ceremonial puck drop and renaming ceremony at the RBC Cup outdoor rink at City Hall Friday.
Both team reps were quick to trash talk each other’s teams for fun, but not before speaking seriously about what Gustavson’s name adds to the tournament.
“I think it was a no-brainer for everyone involved. The legacy that Todd left the city with needed to be appreciated by us as a police force and the fire department,” said Manj.
“It epitomizes what he’s all about bringing people together because that’s what he did.”
Gustavson died suddenly last April after serving more than 37 years with the city’s fire department, including 17 years as chief.
The name change from Battle of the Badges is pleasing to Newton, who knew what Gustavson did for the community on a daily basis.
“He was a mentor and a friend to me,” said Newton. “What I saw him do for this community day in and day out, it’s great to name a community event after him that will live on for years to come.”
Lloydminster Mayor Rob Saunders who dropped the puck had no problem explaining the reasoning for renaming the fun tournament that Gustavson help to found.
“We’ve been looking for an event or something that could celebrate or honour the service that Todd Gustavson gave to our community for many years,” said Saunders.
“This will be an annual tournament so it gives everyone an opportunity to honour Todd.”
The puck drop opened the door for Manj to poke the first jab at Team Firefighters, who they beat last year 15-10, or not.
“I think it was actually 15-8, but they had somebody on their side doing the scoreboard,” joked Manj.
“We had to let off a bit.”
Asked about a possible ringer playing for his side, Manj said, “I normally play goal, but I’m playing out this year so you’ll have to see for yourselves on that one.”
Newton however, wasn’t buying anything Manj was selling and was ready with his script.
“No, inspector Manj wasn’t in net last year. I don’t even know how much he touched the ice,” exclaimed Newton.
“He likes to sit on the bench a lot – he gets a little winded.”
Earlier Newton presented Manj with a participation token to help the cops feel special when they are beaten this year by his team.
“I don’t want their dreams crushed so I would like them to come out again for years to come,” said Newton.
While Newton said his team was training seriously, Manj let on his players are stepping up their trips to donuts shops from twice a day to four times to bulk up.
“We heard they hired some goons to come out an intimidate us,” explained Manj.
“Nobody is surprised the RCMP are in the donut shops a little bit more at this time of year, “fired back Newton.
While Manj predicted a cop victory by three or fours goals, he conceded with charities involved there will be winners all around.
“This hockey game is all about the community so we want to make sure there’s community groups out there that get an opportunity to get a benefit of our goodwill and the community’s goodwill,” he said.
Tickets for the game can be purchased at the RCMP detachment or next door at city hall. They are selling for $10 a person or $25 for a four-person family pass.
“There will be some surprises for everybody ­— some guest appearances and costumes you guys will enjoy,” added Manj.
The event sponsors include Musgrave Agencies, Redhead Equipment, Lloydminster & District Co-op and Image Press.

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