For the first time in nearly three years, thousands of fans cheered for the CHaD Battle of the Badges Hockey Championship, presented by AutoFair, on Sunday, March 13, at SNHU Arena. The fundraising event for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) was back in person after COVID-19 forced the 2020 game to go virtual and the 2021 game was canceled.
The 4,102 fans in attendance were at their loudest as law enforcement, and fire and rescue personnel hit the ice exactly two years after Team Fire earned a second straight victory in 2020. This year’s edition, also streamed online to provide a viewing option for all fans, saw Team Police snap a two-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory. More importantly, the players and coaches helped raise $210,000 and counting for programs at CHaD.
The teams exchanged first period goals with Team Police Ian Gill (Concord) opening the scoring before Erik Burke (Durham) tied it up at 1-1.. Team Police added a second goal from Alex Turgeon (Rockingham County Sheriff) to take a 2-1 lead to the final frame. And then, the game got wild.
Team Fire’s Ashton Rome (Salem) tied the game with a goal from Micah Ruel (Rochester) with about eight minutes gone in the period. Less than a minute later, Phil Arnone (Chichester) put Team Police back on top, 3-2, on a nifty exchange from Chris Murphy (Nashua). That was all the men in blue needed, adding a fourth goal from rookie Cameron Hult (Concord) with five minutes to go, and then their final tally with 6.6 seconds on the clock from Jake Benjamin (Rochester).
Arnone earned the game’s First Star honors by snagging the game-winning goal in the final frame. Team Police goalie Chad Fazio (Manchester) was the Second Star with Team Fire’s Ian Gill (Concord) earning Third Star recognition. Nashua’s Murphy tallied three assists with North Hampton’s Kyle Manlow adding a pair for Police. Benjamin and Turgeon each added an assist to go along with their goals.
Police earned the off-ice title of top fundraiser by generating more than $72,000 as a team. Once again, Kyle Daly (Manchester) was the top individual fundraiser with more than $11,000 collected with his CHaD Buddy, Elliot. Fire raised an impressive $63,000 with Claremont’s Michael Snide once again leading the team effort with a total of $7,068.
After the game, a special tradition also returned as our CHaD Buddies—kids who have needed CHaD services in their lives—got to visit with the teams on the ice. For many Buddies, this was the first time they got to meet their player or the first time they got to see them since the pandemic began in 2020.
Police now have eight wins in the all-time series against Fire’s five total victories. The 2013 game featured East and West squads with players from both police and fire departments on each team.
On the fundraising side, fans and sponsors responded with gusto AutoFair led the way as the game’s presenting sponsor, while MetroWalls sponsored Team Police and Bank of America sponsored Team Fire. Plenty of fans were given cowbells to assist in their noise-making efforts thanks to Service Credit Union, and another group waved red and blue rally towels thanks to WMUR. Additional thanks go to our CHaD Buddy sponsor, Eastern Propane & Oil; volunteer partner, C&M Precision Tech; and Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast.