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Team Fire versus Team Police at the CHaD Battle of the Badges. Courtesy photo.




Battle of the Badges

Where: Verizon Wireless Arena, 755 Elm St., Manchester
When: Sat., March 1, at 4 p.m.
Cost: $10 
Contact: 650-5437 or visit chadkids.org or chadhockey.org




Fire and police face off
Hockey game to benefit CHaD

02/27/14



 After months of tryouts, practices and fundraising, members of Team Fire and Team Police will face off on the ice this weekend for the CHaD Battle of the Badges. 

The annual hockey game benefits the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. 
“These are our local heroes that many of us have a lot of respect for,” said Natalie Martinez-Harrison, the hospital’s event coordinator. “They’re great players too.” 
Lieutenant Nathan Armstrong of the Nashua Fire Department and K9 Handler Jacob Tyler of the Manchester Police Department will play defense for their respective teams, which were assembled in November through a series of tryouts.
Armstrong has been a player in the charity hockey game for six years and said he couldn’t imagine not playing again this year. He loves hockey and has played for the better part of his life, he said, but what makes this game so special is the money they’re raising for CHaD. 
Each player has the opportunity to get buddied up with a patient at the hospital. They meet for the first time at the hospital, and then the patients go to the game to cheer on their buddies.
“Once [players] experience that, you have a lifer there nine times out of 10,” Martinez-Harrison said.
Armstrong agrees that the buddy program is a win-win for the players and the kids.
“It gives you a chance to see who you’re raising the money for; it gives them a chance to be healthy and happy,” he said. “[The hospital] is a sad place with chemo, drug bags, trauma. I know that most often the money [raised from the game] goes to birthdays, holidays and arts and crafts. It allows them to be a bit more normal.” 
Armstrong said he’s also looking forward to a good hockey game. He said there’s a natural rivalry between firefighters and police, and it’s fun to see that played out on the ice.
“We’re also competing to see which team can raise more money,” he said. 
This Battle of the Badges will be the first for Tyler. After a close friend of his welcomed a premature baby that had to stay at CHaD, Tyler knew he wanted to play in honor of her. 
“She was my inspiration to try out for the team,” he said. 
Tyler is looking forward to a little healthy competition against the fire team but also emphasized the “why” behind the event.
“So many children have been to CHaD, or people that know others at CHaD, and we really appreciate what CHaD does for these children. In the end, that’s what we are skating for, is the kids,” Tyler said. 
Each player is expected to attend four practices and pledge a donation of at least $1,500 to the hospital. 
The fire vs. police battle is returning after an all-star game last year. New this year, fans of each team will be seated on opposite sides of the ice to rev up enthusiasm for the rivalry. 
The event will include raffles and family activities with the Manchester Monarchs. The Fisher Cats mascot and Chadosaurus, the hospital’s dinosaur mascot, will be there to take photos with fans. There will also be a free sign-making station for fans to create posters for their favorite team or players.
Martinez-Harrison said the hospital provides care for patients regardless of their financial situations and some of this money will help to offset that cost among other expenses. 
“Every patient that walks in the door needs to feel as comfortable and as safe as possible,” said Martinez-Harrison. “We really go beyond the illness, and kids heal better in a place that they feel safe and secure.”  
 
As seen in the February 27, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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