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Rochester firefighters and police invite residents to help those in need during the annual hockey match Feb. 7 in the Rochester Arena. Participants are asked to donate non-perishable foods. Courtesy 

Rochester firefighters, police set hockey grudge match

ROCHESTER — The firefighters vs. police hockey match Feb. 7 will offer attendees entertainment and a chance to help feed hungry families.

Local police and firefighters will once again face off in what &#';has become an annual ice hockey grudge match,&#'; in the Rochester Arena, which donates the time on the ice for the event.As police remain undefeated in all six previous games, Detective Steven Gahan said he doesn&#';t expect to see an upset this year.

&#';Our belief is that this year is our most talented group of players. I don&#';t believe that we will have an issue defeating the fire department again,&#'; Gahan said.Members of Rochester Youth Hockey will warm up the crowd between 6 to 7 p.m. The game will follow the demonstration. The area is located at 63A Lowell St.

Admission is free, but organizers ask participants to bring in nonperishable food items to be donated to Gerry&#';s Emergency Food Pantry, located in the Rochester Community Center. The pantry assists Rochester residents and families in need.About 250 area residents came to the event last year. Gahan said they hope to exceed — or even double —the attendance, which should increase donations. He added they collected enough to fill two trucks last year.&#';As for a recommended amount for a donation, we would like to see people bring what they can afford to,&#'; Gahan said. &#';Our focus is bringing the community together.&#';

While many pantries fill their shelves during the holidays, they usually see a drop in donations around February.&#';This is a great, kid-safe and family-friendly event that supports your local heros as well as the local community,&#'; Gahan said.


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