Terrace’s finest are sharpening their blades for what they hope will be their third consecutive win in the Ninth Annual Guns and Hoses Charity Hockey Game. The popular family event pits the RCMP against Terrace firefighters in a competitive match with 100 per cent of proceeds going to local children through Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart for Kids program.
Terrace Canadian Tire owner Bryan Gascon said Guns and Hoses is by far the best attended, highest paying fundraising event of the year for the program, locally.
“For many children there’s a big barrier to sport, called money,” he says. “What’s so great about this program is it’s not limited to only registered B.C. sports, like hockey, baseball and soccer.”
In the past funds have gone to equipment and transportation costs for children in a variety of pursuits, including archery and swimming, in addition to the more mainstream sports.
“It’s very flexible on what the child does as long as it gets the kid off the couch.”
Competitions similar to Guns and Hoses are held in communities across the country, but the Terrace face-off is known for drawing out the public’s attendance and enthusiasm like few other. That’s thanks in part to Terrace businesses who have gotten in the habit of buying multiple tickets at once and either giving them to children, or auctioning them off to raise further funds for Jumpstart.
“It’s incredibly well supported,” said Jeff Minhinnick, president of the local firefighters union 2685, and who started the Guns and Hoses match nine years ago. “Kids have come up to us and said it was their very first hockey game, they’re so excited about it. We get letters…and sometimes we even get asked for autographs,” he added with a laugh. “Seriously.”
It’s not all just ego-bursting fanfare, but some decent competitive hockey too. A recent RCMP victory was made with a game-winning goal in the last four seconds.
Good hockey or not, the important factor of the event is the purpose.
“It allows some kids to get involved in sports a young age, for a better chance at a brighter future,” said defenceman and RCMP Sgt. Shawn McLaughlin.
This year the RCMP will again pull together an atom team for the warm up. Also on the ice, the first intermission will feature a crowd favourite of Timbits players, followed by the second intermission puck toss competition for two tickets to a Vancouver Canucks game, airfare and accomodation included. Save-On-Foods general manager Richard Sprowl will also be on hand selling boxes of Kraft Dinner, the store’s idea for noise makers. Those who want to give to the cause and make some noise in the process, but don’t want to take the food home, can leave it at the rink as a donation to the Food Bank.
The Guns and Hoses Hockey Game takes place at the Terrace Arena on Friday, Nov. 17. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; puck drop at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $5 at the door or at participating locations around town.