CHaD Battle of the Badges Hockey Game Raises Record Amount
Ten years ago, inspired by a Police vs. Fire charity football game in New York City, WMUR Sports Director Jamie Staton asked a question, What can WE do in New Hampshire with our law enforcement officers? After some brainstorming the answer became clear – police officers and firefighters on the ice. After all, New Hampshire loves hockey, and so did its police officers, sheriffs, firefighters and EMTs.
In 2008, the initial CHaD Battle of the Badges took place under the curious eyes of a few thousand CHaD supporters and hockey lovers. When the beans were all counted an impressive $77,000 was raised for CHaD.
The next decade saw the game become an annual spring tradition in New Hampshire, with growing crowds and more awareness and more funds raised for CHaD. When it came time to celebrate ten years, the goal was to host the biggest and best Badges yet. It certainly did not disappoint.
The initial planning began over the summer. Tryouts took place in October and November, and when the teams were selected in December, players jumped right into the action on and off the ice, and looked to their local communities for support in surpassing the $1500 per player fundraising goal.
In January, a special rally sponsored by Bank of America took place where Badge players were teamed up with CHaD patients, many of them returning as Badge Buddies and eager to share all the fun that the past year had brought them.
With game week approaching, you could tell that the players and planning committees were now looking beyond the goal of $230,000.
On game day, the past and present came together for the anniversary. Ten-year players were honored for their commitment in growing the game to what it is today – Team Police’s Pete Favreau, Chris Plummer and Keith MacKenzie; and Team Fire’s Micky Drouin and Perry Plummer. Alumni from previous games turned up to say hello, and Gary Laperle was back in official’s stripes just like he’s been since year one.
The most anticipated moments of the pre-game celebrated two young lives. CHaD Buddy Bella Cottrell performed a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. Moments later, we remembered Emma Bechert, a life-long CHaD patient who provided the Badges ceremonial puck drop in 2011 and brought with her a charismatic smile that will forever be missed.
SNHU Arena doors opened to 6000 fans who were welcomed by 130 volunteers that made this historical day possible. The on-ice excitement started early when Police jumped ahead, scoring within the game’s first minute. They repeated that feat in the second period, and eventually worked their way to a 9-1 win.
Badges veteran Dan Conley (Hudson Police Department) was named the game’s first star by factoring in on five scores (two goals, three assists). Newcomer Phil Arnone of Chichester PD took home second star honors with two goals and an assist. Fire’s Jake Paulsen (Candia Fire Department) earned the third star by scoring Fire’s lone goal.
After the teams shook hands on the ice, the big news was finally unveiled. A record $268,000 (and still counting) was raised through sponsorships, tickets, merchandise, raffles, and, of course, the players.
The teams combined for $180,000, the most ever by the community heroes who dedicate time, money and some blood and sweat to the cause. Police was the highest team fundraiser, finishing up a few dollars shy of $100,000.
Individually, Nashua Police’s Mike Dore was back at the top for the eighth time in nine games, crushing his goal and his previous bests with over $25,000 raised in a single season. But he wasn’t alone with eye-popping numbers. Manchester’s Kyle Daly was second on Team Police with $19,000 raised. Team Fire’s top fundraiser battle went down to the wire with Claremont’s Michael Snide ($12,703) edging Dover’s Drouin ($11,039).
Now the focus moves to 2018 and the push for the $2 million mark. After this year’s game, the total sits at $1.945 million raised to support the programs and families at CHaD.
We send our sincere appreciation to SNHU Arena for making this game possible these 10 years; our local heroes that give their all on and off the ice; our game presenting sponsor, AutoFair; Team Police and Buddy Partner Bank of America; Team Fire partners 1800BoardUp and Insurcomm; and the numerous businesses that came together in support of our patients. Thank you to the 130 volunteers, event committee members, and over 50 CHaD families who dedicated their time in making this game a great success.