MISSOULA – You could say they’re skating for pride and the “power play”. But in reality, when Missoula area firefighters take to the ice this weekend is all about helping the community.
Normally when we picture firefighters it’s the image of them gearing up and rushing to the rescue. But this weekend Missoula-area firefighters will be gearing up in a different way, donning the pads and gloves and grabbing their sticks for charity.
It’s the 8th year for the annual “Fire on Ice” hockey game, which is turning out to be one of the highlights of a long winter in Missoula.
And this year the “heated” rivalry between Missoula’s Fire Department and Missoula Rural firefighters is bound to ignite the crowd.
“It’s always fun to play against the guy across the street,” said Brett Cunniff. “We all do the same job and it is fun to get out and have a light light-hearted rivalry.”
“We’re up by one game on them right now. And every game, with the exception of one has been a one-goal game. So it’s been a pretty tight series all the way through.”
But it’s not just the city and rural firefighters who look forward to the evening. For the fourth year, Missoula’s Wildland Firefighters are out to show all that summer work climbing up and down mountains and breathing fire is pretty good training too.
“Well, the Wildland Game is a great chance for some of the newer skaters to get out on the ice and be in a competitive environment, and actually have a lot of fans at the game.”
Beyond the rivalries though, this evening is all about raising money. Each team selects their charities, raising thousands of dollars to help fire victims, kids and local organizations.
“Each team has got their own fund that they’re going to be donating to. Last year we raised over $11,000 doing this.”
But make no mistake. There will be as much entertaining competition as charity!
“Oh yeah. We definitely want to bring the trophy back to our station. Since it is a traveling trophy it’s been over there the past two years so we definitely want to get it back.”
Fire on Ice starts at 6 p.m. Saturday night at the Glacier Ice Rink, with the main game at 7:30. And yes, it is free admission.