First responders win over hockey community

By Jamie Harkins

March 14, 2017 12:00 AM

BATTLE OF THE BADGES Members of the Lloydminster Fire Department and Lloydminster RCMP hockey teams pose with the Todd Gustavson Memorial Cup. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO

Hockey fans passed through the gates of the Centennial Civic Centre in droves on Friday night to support their local heroes and a couple of good causes at the third annual Todd Gustavson Memorial Battle of the Badges.
“Everybody had a lot of fun,” said Lloydminster Fire Department centre Brad “Blaze” Martin. “It’s unfortunate we couldn’t pull off the win, but I’m not really sure what the score was anyways. It’s really just about getting all of the emergency services together and really highlighting our first responders in the community and raising some funds for local charities.”
Entertainment was front and centre in the battle between the Fire Department and members of the Lloydminster RCMP starting with the boisterous crowd of kids, parents, spouses and friends of the first responders who welcomed the teams to the ice at the beginning of the first period.
The cheers of approval continued on unabated throughout the 70 minutes of tongue-in-cheek on-ice play.
The loudest ovations came when Fire Department defenceman Pat “Patty Cakes” Garner was escorted from the game courtesy of an on-ice paddy wagon for an excessive celebration penalty after a goal and in a less-than-generous gift of inflatable donuts to the RCMP bench by a few local children.
“It’s nice to have the support from the local people from Lloydminster,” said RCMP goaltender Kevin ‘South Paw’ Nichols.
“They were all cheering when both guys scored and we don’t always get cheered for, so it was nice to have them cheer for us once in a while.”
Nichols said the purpose of the game was to just get out in the community and show everyone that members of the local RCMP detachment and the fire department are real people too.
He said the folks of Lloydminster then stepped up to have some fun while also helping them raise some money for The Olive Tree Community Centre, which provides services in the areas of homelessness, hunger relief and education to isolated people and families in need, and the Lloydminster Area Drug Strategy.
“Any amount of money we can raise is great, but the more the better,” said Martin, noting final figures and a cheque presentation will be announced in the near future.
“Looking at the amount of people we had in the stands I think we’re going to have a decent chunk of change for those two charities.”

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