Badges play with special purpose
The game faces off at 5 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. The police team will wear patches on their jerseys bearing the badge number of Doherty, who continues to recover from the gunshot wounds he suffered last week.
There are plans to honor Doherty in other ways at the game, but the details are being kept under wraps.
'There will be a few things both before and during the game,' said Manchester police Lt. Pete Favreau, assistant captain for the police team. 'We don't want to give too much away yet.'
This year's event has raised more than $140,700, according to the official website's tally as of Friday night.
The game always has meaning for the players due to the fundraising efforts for CHaD. Both teams have also pulled together around Doherty, who would have played in the game.
'I think it has been a rallying point for both teams, but we haven't lost sight that we're doing this for the CHaD kids,' Favreau said. 'Dan's a guy who went out of his way for CHaD.'
Favreau has played in all four previous Battle of the Badges games, but now has a special connection to the game.
Four years ago, Favreau's daughter Emily fell off a rock ledge and fractured her skull. Just nine years old at the time, Emily had to be airlifted to CHaD, where she underwent successful brain surgery.
While Favreau has his own connection to the charity, many of the other players build their own bonds by visiting the hospital prior to the game.
'This has been real special to a lot of the guys. They see how special CHaD is and the people who work there,' Favreau said. 'Our visits to Dartmouth connect people to the hospital.'
As for the game itself, the level of play is always good. Surprisingly good to some.
'A lot of people I've spoken to say how surprised they are with the level of play,' Favreau said. 'Every year we see the crowd grow and it speaks to the quality of the hockey.'
The series is tied 2-2 and the competition from the fundraising efforts spills over to the ice.
'The intensity of the rivalry comes from a bunch of guys who are passionate about the cause and that translates to the game,' Favreau said. 'They go all out on the fundraising and bring that to the ice.'
But in the end, the teams are unified.
'The game is police vs. fire, but at the end of the game it's just police and fire,' Favreau said. 'When it's all said and done, we come together and celebrate the victory for CHaD.'