They regularly fight crime and fiery blazes, but every year Squamish RCMP and Squamish Fire Rescue join the battle against cancer together through the friendly Guns and Hoses Charity Hockey Game, which takes place tonight (March 20) at Brennan Park Arena.
The event is in its ninth year and is designed to raise funds to support a local individual battling the disease. This year's game is dedicated to 19-year-old Jordan Neumann, who was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer shortly after graduating from Howe Sound Secondary School and moving to Kamloops to continue her education at Thompson Rivers University. She was taking Early Childhood Education until December when she was forced to move back to Squamish to undertake extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Firefighter Dave Sweeney is a longtime family friend and was Neumann's soccer coach for five years, travelling as far away as Europe to compete. He said it's difficult to see such a kind and talented person stricken with the disease.
"She's a very athletic young girl, a very bright spirit and for lack of a better term, one of the last people you would want to see this happen to," he said.
Although daily duties differ between police officers and firefighters, the Guns and Hoses event allows the two groups to share Canada's game in an effort to support locals in need, said Sweeney.
"It's a great event. It's probably one of the few that brings two services in the municipality that work against a lot of bad things all day long and then they get to have some fun. And obviously, it's a great venue to do some fundraising."
Last year, the event raised more than $2,000 to help 11-year-old Briana Gonzales treat a rare neurological condition.
Neumann is attending the game and will take part in the ceremonial puck drop. Her mother Heather Neumann said she is extremely grateful the community is offering such kind support.
"We think Squamish is the best community to support us in this fight so we definitely want to thank everybody," she said.
The District of Squamish is donating the ice time and Greg Gardner will continue the mayoral tradition of wearing the whistle and zebra stripes. Spectators can look forward to unusual play-calling. For example, goal scorers might have to play the following shift handcuffed to a team mate, said RCMP Cpl. Scott Bowden.
The RCMP lost badly to the firefighters last year, so the team is ready to compete hard. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. and admission is $2 or by donation. There will be a 50/50 draw, a puck toss and silent auction for two signed Vancouver Canucks jerseys.