The third annual Guns and Hoses first responders charity hockey game took place in Ashcroft on Jan. 21, and 600 people packed Drylands Arena to take part in the fun and see who would emerge victorious.
The Hoses team, made up of local fire department personnel, won the first match in 2020, while the Guns team — made up of local law enforcement officers — won the 2022 match-up. With bragging rights on the line, both teams played a hard-fought game, and at the end of the first period the score was tied 1-1.
It stayed close during the second period, with a goal by one team matched by a goal from the other. With only seconds remaining in regulation time the Guns team pulled within one, but an empty-netter by the Hoses team sealed the deal, and the firefighters won by a score of 5-3.
The game featured plenty of on-ice antics, including rocket skates, a stuffed pig that earned the Guns team a too many men on the ice penalty (which was served by the stuffed pig), and a timeout for a doughnut break (called by the police team) that was then matched by a timeout from the firefighters, who brought a firepit and lawn chairs onto the ice for a hot dog roast.
The line-up at the concession, run by Thompson-Cariboo Minor Hockey, remained constant through the game, and attendees took advantage of the puck toss, two 30/70 draws, and raffle draws to help raise funds for the Honour Ranch near Ashcroft. The Ranch is intended as a place of healing for military personnel, veterans, police officers, first responders, and their families who are suffering the effects of operational stress injuries including anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Including donations at the door and online donations, more than $10,000 was raised for the ranch; a further $1,500 was donated by the National Police Federation’s Benevolent Foundation, while the Ashcroft and District Lions Club presented the proceeds from last year’s Tim Hortons Smile Cookies campaign, which was $5,757.29 (and was topped up to $6,000 thanks to the Lions Club).
Honour House Society founder and president Hon. Col. Al De Genova was at the game to drop the puck for a ceremonial face-off and present the trophy to the victorious Hoses team. The puck toss winners were Jessica Clement, Tyler Fredrickson, and Lytton fire chief Jason Phillips, while the first 30/70 draw was won by Tyler Combs, who generously donated his share of the winnings — nearly $500 — back to Honour Ranch.
While the firefighters won the trophy, all involved say they had a wonderful time. “At the end of the day, Honour Ranch was the real winner,” said Ashcroft fire chief and firefighters coach Josh White. “And the RCMP, aka Bacon Bits, played one hell of a game!”