Battle of the Badges surpasses fundraising goal in support of Special Olympics

Third annual event raises $12,000

by Jessica Jones

For the Pipestone Flyer

Bragging rights aside, the third annual Battle of the Badges hockey game on Feb.15th, was a great success as teams, local businesses, sponsors, and community members, helped to raise $12,000 in funds for Special Olympics Alberta.

The game played at Wetaskwin’s Twin Arenas, featured two teams made up of players from Wetaskiwin’s fire department and law enforcement. Each team battled for the puck in a “hard-fought game,” explained Wetaskiwin Fire Department team captain Kyle Kinnunen.

In the end, however, the RCMP took home the James Gilbert Memorial Trophy in an 8-5 win over the fire department team.

“The RCMP goalie really kept them in the game,” Kinnunen said, noting that the fire department team will be looking to equal things out next year with another event set in February to again raise money for Special Olympics Alberta.

In the first event the police won 8-2, while last year the fire department answered back with a 6-4 win.

Kinnunen says they received a lot of community support and over 200 fans came to root on their fire department or police teams. He says the RCMP raised about $2,100 in funds, with the fire department raising around $3,100. The funds will benefit a local floor hockey team who are representing Team Alberta, Kinnunen said.

“It’s great to support them.”

The annual Battle of the Badges to support the Wetaskiwin Special Olympics started three years ago after Jim Jones, the RCMP team captain, attended a conference in Nashville, Tennessee, which featured law enforcement involvement in raising funds for the Special Olympics.

Kinnunen says this year’s event featured a licensed lounge with beverages donated by Blindman Brewing of Lacombe for those 18 and older who paid to attend the game.

“We are going to do much of the same for next year and we will also try to find other things to include into event,” Kinnunen said.

But until that time, the RCMP will have their nameplate on the James Gilbert memorial trophy.

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