While most minor hockey players can’t grow moustaches, it didn’t stop them from taking on a combined team made up of firefighters, corrections officers and police officers in Hay River’s first Movember fundraiser game on Oct. 30.
“We raise what we raise, but other than that it’s for fun,” said organizer Const. Yannick Gagnon of the RCMP. “I think we’ll for sure do it again next year.”
The event raised over $600 for Movember, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness and funds for men’s health, particularly testicular and prostate cancer.
Gagnon said all the money would go straight to the official charity, despite the game being held shortly before the beginning of the month of moustache-growing itself.
“I’ve done Movember before in New Brunswick,” he said. “And we were thinking about it here for a few weeks. Everything came together and we pulled it off.”
The date of the game had been a bit difficult to pin down as a result of the number of groups and players involved, but Gagnon said Oct. 30 ended up being the most logical as all the minor hockey players were scheduled to be on the ice anyway that evening.
While the combined agencies have a history of playing the local midget team every year during National Addictions Awareness Week in November, this is the first time they played against all levels of minor hockey. Gagnon said he wanted to make sure everyone, even the little kids, got some ice time and organized the game so that every level played at least 10 minutes.
For Sgt. Chad Orr, the game was as much about reaching out to the community as it was about raising money and showing off moustaches.
“The Town of Hay River has identified involvement with youth as a priority and we’re always eager to help with that,” Orr told The Hub. “But apart from that, it’s always good when kids get to see police out of uniform and as just regular people. I just love doing this sort of thing.”
But for the majority of the players on the ice, the game was mostly about having fun. Emmaclaire Hull, Miah Harris and Caleb Swan joined in with the youngest group for the first contest of the night against the law enforcement and emergency rescue team.
“The best part was the passing and scoring,” said Swan, while Harris said her favourite part was winning. Although different age groups played separately, the score was carried over and ended with minor hockey winning 17-5.
“My favourite was that I scored goals,” said Hull. “It was really fun playing the cops and firemen and stuff, too.”
— Sarah Ladik