BATAVIA — Anyone who wants to see the city police and fire departments face off in a hockey game can do so Jan. 8 while contributing to a local foundation.
Tickets are being printed this week and will be available through the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena, 22 Evans St., or by emailing CAN-USA Sports General Manager Marc Witt at [email protected]. The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at the ice arena. The cost is $10 per person and kids 12 and under are free.
Proceeds will benefit the David M. McCarthy Memorial Foundation, named for David M. McCarthy, who grew up in Batavia. He played for the Ramparts in the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association (GAHA). At Batavia High School, he was captain of a varsity team that finished as the runner-up in Division I in 1994-95. McCarthy, 29, was killed Nov. 2, 2006, in a motor vehicle accident.
“This will be the first one ever,” Firefighter Matt Morasco said of the planned charity game, noting there have been pickup games in the past. “We got a hold of them (police officers). We wanted to do a charity game. Then, we wanted to get the McCarthy Foundation involved. We’d been playing these pickup games with the Police Department in years past and talked with them, trying to do something where we could donate to a local charity. We have a lot of members here and a lot of members at the Police Department (whose) kids play sports in this area. They donate a lot of money to youth sports in Genesee County.”
Morasco said the game should be a fun event to bring out the community. The departments don’t have a specific fundraising goal.
“It’s kind of hard to tell with it being our first year. I know members of the McCarthy Foundation and Marc Witt, who is part of the Muckdogs, he’s working on getting it (information) out to a number of people.”
Morasco said both departments have ordered jerseys for the game.
. The Fire Department team will try to get in a little practice time if it can.
“We don’t have anything set in stone right now, but I think we’re going to try to have a couple of practices. There will be a little bit of competitiveness for sure,” Morasco said. “We’ve done the softball game in the past (at Dwyer Stadium). I think the police are coming after us because we beat them twice now. I think they’re going to come after us on the ice.”
City Police Detective Jim DeFreze said the department will also hit the ice for some practices before the game. The team practiced Wednesday night.
“We have a bunch of members who played growing up and we have a few people who have picked it up later in life, like myself,” DeFreze said. “We’ll have a wide array of skill levels on our team. There’s no limit on number. Our team has 11 players, which is pretty light. We’ll have one goalie and two lines. All 11 are members.”
DeFreze said the pickup games took place before the COVID pandemic. There were maybe 10 or 12 of them and they didn’t involve just city officers versus firefighters, but also some friends who had played hockey but weren’t in law enforcement. There had also been a team of city officers and firefighters, county Sheriff’s Office personnel, and town of Batavia firefighters which played each year in a hockey tournament in Buffalo.
DeFreze said planning for the Jan. 8 game began about a month ago.
“It sprung from the softball game that we play against one another. Marc Witt has been spearheading both sides and he’s helping with tickets and ticket design and things like that,” he said.
Like Marasco, DeFreze said there will be some competitiveness when the two departments get on the ice Jan. 8.
“I expect to have officials and three periods and scoring kept. We’re playing for bragging rights,” DeFreze said. The length of time in each period hasn’t been decided, but he said it might be about 15 minutes.
“We have high expectations for this game. There’s been some banter back and forth,” he said. “I know the ice rink has a max occupancy of 380 people. We’re hoping to fill the place, but it’s hard for me to say. We’re going to at least have enough tickets to fill it if we’re lucky.”