Team Police Chris Plummer, right, of Dover Police, celebrates his goal with teammates Phil Lamy, center, of Bow Police, and Thomas Owen, left, of NH State Police, in front of Team Fire goalie Louie Loutrel of Woodsville Fire in the second period of the CHaD Battle of the Badges Fire vs. Police hockey game at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester Sunday afternoon. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
The score: $255,855 raised for CHaD
MANCHESTER — There were plenty of goals, assists and saves to go around, but at the end of the day there was only one important stat announced — which made everyone involved in the 10th annual CHaD Battle of the Badges a winner.
A still-rising total of $255,855 was raised this year, bringing the 10-year total to $1.93 million for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
“This is my eighth year playing and I never thought we’d raise that amount of money in a short time,’ said Dan Conley of Hudson, who tallied two goals and two assists to lead Team Police past Team Fire 9-1 at SNHU Arena before 5,912 fans. “Hopefully we’ll get to four million, total, in another 10 years.”
There was a positive atmosphere all day, including before the game outside the SNHU Arena, where officers and firefighters in uniform were greeting fans of all ages in front of the main entrance on Elm Street. The fire department showcased its Manchester Fire Engine 7 Ladder Truck and the police department had its State Police Major Crime Unit vehicle on display for all to see.
Inside, Chrissy Elliott of Hillsborough, a 13-year firefighter with the Deering Fire Department, was having fun with her nieces and nephews, treating them to food and drinks at one of the busy concession stands around the arena.
“This is a great family event that raises money for a great cause,” said Elliott, who attended her seventh Battle of the Badges game. “Everyone and everything here is family friendly. It’s a place where you can bring your kids and have a good time.”
Elliott said she has a criminal justice degree, “which means I could be a cop,” when asked who she was rooting for in the game. “But I’m a third generation firefighter, have been in fire service for a total of 20 years and I always cheer for Team Fire.”
The game aside, Elliott said “at the end of the day, everyone wins. Police, Fire, the community all coming together to focus on helping to raise money for a great cause is what this is all about. The dedication is just amazing.”
Between the first and second periods, the fans were treated to a performance on ice by the New Hampshire Police Association Pipes and Drums Corps, which also played before the game while walking the corridors around the arena.
One of three original members left from the bagpipes and drums unit , representing 12 departments in New Hampshire, was former Manchester Police Department detective of 24 years Bob Freitas of Manchester. He is now working for the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.
“It’s an honor to be here, an honor we’ve been invited for the ninth year to participate in this great game for a great cause,” said Freitas. “This wonderful game keeps getting bigger and better each year and it feels great to contribute back to the community in a positive way. We just love doing it.”
Bob’s wife, Christine, and his twin daughters, Jenna and Kelly organized the annual Playing for a Purpose field hockey jamboree, held every August at Manchester Memorial to raise money for cancer research. The jamboree has raised over $25,000 for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in New Hampshire.
Caroline Ciechon of Manchester, a volunteer for her fifth time in the Battle of the Badges, walked around the arena meeting people from in and around the state, selling raffle tickets to raise money for ChaD.
“For me, I look forward each year to see and talk to people of all ages who come to support ChaD,” said Ciechon. “People come with family members to have a good time and they open their wallets to donate whatever they can, big or small, to help people in need.”
Ciechon mentioned she saw 5-year-old Elliot Perry in the arena, son of B.J and Carrie Perry of Manchester. Elliot was born with a disability three months before expected when his mom had severe preeclampsia (high blood pressure) during pregnancy. Elliot was one pound, nine ounces at birth and had to spend the first four months of his life under the care of ChaD.
In recent years, the Elliotts have represented the state and ChaD in front of Congress in Washington, D.C., telling their story and how important funding ChaD is to many people, particularly young children.
“They’re a wonderful family from Manchester and I became attached to their story and that’s another reason why I volunteer my time to this game,” said Ciechon, who was impressed with the nearly $2 million raised so far. “It’s a huge amount of money and it’s awesome,” said Ciechon. “It just shows you what people can do when everyone comes together to support a great cause.”
As for the game, Team Police led 2-0 after the first period and 7-1 after the second stanza. Conley was voted the No. 1 star of the game. Phil Arnone of Chichester and Chris Plummer of Dover each tallied twice while Matt Harnish of Dover, Keith MacKenzie of Rochester and Kyle Daly of Manchester each lit the red lamp once. Phil Lamy of Bow, Daly and MacKenzie each had two assists.
Team Police goalies Trevor Cherry of Wakefield (23 saves) and Steve Case of New Boston (16 saves) nearly combined on a shutout.
Spoiling the shutout bid in the second stanza was Jake Paulsen of Candia, assisted by Tom Nault of Concord.
“It’s very rewarding to be a part of this,” said Team Fire captain Micky Drouin of Dover, who like many others became emotionally moved when the crowd gave a standing ovation to the many CHaD kids in attendance. “That moment reminded all of us why we were here today. To raise money for the hospital and give the kids what they need is why we do this every single year.”