Charity hockey match raises thousands for Lytton fire department

The teams for the First Responders Charity Hockey Match on Jan. 22 gather at centre ice after the game. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)The teams for the First Responders Charity Hockey Match on Jan. 22 gather at centre ice after the game. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
(from l) Ashcroft firefighter Tyler Fitzpatrick, Ashcroft firefighter Nancy Duchaine, Lytton fire chief Jason Phillips, Ashcroft firefighter Jonah Anstett, and RCMP Cst. Chris Buckland at the ceremonial face-off of the First Responders Charity Hockey Match on Jan. 22. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)(from l) Ashcroft firefighter Tyler Fitzpatrick, Ashcroft firefighter Nancy Duchaine, Lytton fire chief Jason Phillips, Ashcroft firefighter Jonah Anstett, and RCMP Cst. Chris Buckland at the ceremonial face-off of the First Responders Charity Hockey Match on Jan. 22. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Ashcroft firefighter Greg Hiltz takes an unorthodox time-out during the first period. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Ashcroft firefighter Greg Hiltz takes an unorthodox time-out during the first period. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Aurora Buckland (r) gets ready to take a shot for the police team during the fun shoot-out event in the intermission of the first responders charity hockey match in Ashcroft on Jan. 22. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Aurora Buckland (r) gets ready to take a shot for the police team during the fun shoot-out event in the intermission of the first responders charity hockey match in Ashcroft on Jan. 22. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Aurora Buckland tees up her shot. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Aurora Buckland tees up her shot. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Aurora Buckland scores for the police team during the fun shoot-out event in the intermission of the first responders charity hockey match in Ashcroft on Jan. 22. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Aurora Buckland scores for the police team during the fun shoot-out event in the intermission of the first responders charity hockey match in Ashcroft on Jan. 22. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Although there was plenty of fun on the ice, there was also some serious hockey, with both teams intent on winning the game. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Although there was plenty of fun on the ice, there was also some serious hockey, with both teams intent on winning the game. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
(r) Police team captain Chris Buckland holds the trophy after his squad won the First Responders Charity Hockey Match as Tyler Bell, captain of the firefighters team, looks on. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)(r) Police team captain Chris Buckland holds the trophy after his squad won the First Responders Charity Hockey Match as Tyler Bell, captain of the firefighters team, looks on. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

The second First Responders Charity Hockey Match — affectionately known as “Guns and Hoses” — took place before a small but appreciative audience at the Drylands Arena in Ashcroft on Jan. 22.

The game pitted local firefighters against law enforcement officers, to raise funds to help the Lytton Volunteer Fire Department. Cst. Chris Buckland, captain of the police squad, had said prior to the game that after losing the first match in 2020 his team was “in it to win it” this year, and when the final buzzer sounded they had won by a score of 9–7.

COVID restrictions meant that attendance was capped at 300, and about 200 people turned out to cheer on both sides. They were treated to a well-played and entertaining game of hockey from both teams, with plenty of end-to-end play, odd-man rushes, solid goal-tending at both ends, and a couple of breakaways. Buckland was a force for the police squad, while the firefighters’ Allie Aie impressed the crowd with her speedy play and her ability in the face-off circle.

While the actual playing was serious — it was clear that both teams wanted the victory — there were plenty of on-ice antics to entertain the crowd. In the first period the police squad called a time-out and proceeded to enjoy coffee and (of course) doughnuts — which were donated by Tim Hortons — at their bench. Not to be outdone, the firefighters then called a time-out of their own, and brought lawn chairs onto the ice so they could enjoy an iced-tea break.

When a ham was thrown on the ice, the police were initially called for too many men on the ice, but were awarded a penalty shot when it was shown that the ham had been tossed from the firefighters’ bench. The resulting shot saw the firefighters’ goaltender well out of the net, but the dead-on puck somehow stayed out. It was later revealed that the firefighters had put netting across the goalmouth. There was also an exploding puck, an attempt by the firefighters to “smoke out” the opposing goalie, and in the closing minutes of the match there were words between Buckland and firefighters’ team captain Tyler Bell. The two men dropped the gloves, and Buckland was the winner of the subsequent “rock paper scissors” battle.

During the game, participants could purchase raffle tickets for a variety of prizes donated by local businesses and organizations, take part in two “shared prize” draws, and purchase pucks for an intermission puck toss that had three lucky winners. The three events raised more than $2,000 for the Lytton fire department, who lost their fire hall and all the equipment inside it during the fire on June 30, 2021 that destroyed 90 per cent of the town of Lytton.

Attendance at the match was by donation, and other donations have been coming in from people who were unable to be at the game. Buckland says that the donations are still being tallied, and that anyone who wants to donate can do so by sending an etransfer to ashcroftfirefightersassoc@gmail.com.

Lytton fire chief Jason Phillips was at the event to take part in the ceremonial puck drop that kicked off the match. He also took part in a shoot-out during the intermission, where each team was allowed three shooters in an “anything goes” event. The winner was judged by the audience reaction, and when Phillips came out as the last shooter for the firefighters it looked as if the winner was clear.

However, Buckland — who shot last for the police team — had his own secret weapon: his four-year-old daughter Aurora, who has been skating since she was one-and-a-half. Aurora single-handedly stick-handled the puck from centre ice, and to the delight of the crowd got the puck past the firefighters’ goalie, securing the shoot-out win for the police team.

“There was a level of competitiveness on the ice, because all jokes aside we both wanted to win,” says Buckland. “Once the buzzer goes at the end all the competitiveness is gone, though, and it’s back to camaraderie.”

He adds that the entire event was a win for all concerned.

“We won on the ice, we won for the cause, and we won with the crowd. We gave the community something to look forward to and come to, to get the craziness off their minds. We raised money for a great cause, and the better team won. It was a win all the way around.”



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter