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Norwich firefighters, police to hit the ice

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published February 21. 2014 4:00AM   Updated February 21. 2014 11:45PM
Departments to play benefit hockey game

Norwich - Police and firefighters often participate in friendly rivalry fundraisers, playing pick-up basketball, softball or physical fitness competitions.

But hockey is different. You have to know how to skate, hold and use a hockey stick and have someone willing and able to stand in front of the net and face shots.

Police Officer Ryan O'Connell has organized the city's first Guns vs. Hoses - borrowing a common name used across the country for police vs. firefighter events - hockey game Saturday to benefit local youth sports.

The game is at 7 p.m. at the Norwich Municipal Ice Rink.

Half of the proceeds will be split between Norwich Police Athletic League sports - which does not include hockey - and the Seahawks youth hockey program.

O'Connell said "a few guys" on the police department play hockey, as do several city firefighters. O'Connell, a center, has been playing since he was 4, growing up in Cranston, R.I. He played on Cranston youth hockey teams and for Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick.

There wouldn't be enough Norwich police or fire department players to field full teams, so each team recruited colleagues from across the state.

The police will feature players from the Connecticut State Police, Montville, Groton Town, and Hamden police departments and a goalie from South Windsor Police.

The fire department will bring in players from Middletown, Torrington and other departments across the state.

"We definitely have a group of some A-level players, and the fire department has some really good players," O'Connell said. "It should be an interesting hockey game."

c.bessette@theday.com

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GUNS VS. HOSES HOCKEY GAME

Who: Norwich police and fire departments

What: Hockey game

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Norwich Municipal Ice Rink, 641 New London Turnpike, Norwich

Tickets: $7 for adults, free admission for children 12 and under. Tickets are available in advance at the rink or at the door.

What else: Proceeds benefit Norwich PAL and Seahawks youth hockey

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