Firefighters play hockey to ‘Break the Ice’ about mental health issues

Day-long tournament held Friday at Surrey Sport and Leisure Centre

Players James Pistrin (left) and Kalum Iverson (right

FLEETWOOD — Surrey firefighters and others put on their hockey gear to “Break the Ice” about mental-health issues faced by first responders.

An annual day-long hockey tournament on Friday (Oct. 16) featured 11 teams in action at Surrey Sport and Leisure Centre on Fraser Highway.

When it was launched in 2011, the tourney benefited a snack program backed by Surrey Fire Fighters Association.

This year, the focus was put on mental health awareness and education. Funds raised will support the association’s related charitable initiatives, said Mike McNamara, president of the union.

“The one driver here is that the fellow who ran the tournament for the snack program was Ernie Dombrowski, and he was the second (Surrey) firefighter who took his own life last year. He was the guy who started this tournament and ran it,” McNamara told the Now.

“We want this tournament to continue out of respect for everything he’s done to make it happen, and it was a good fit for us to change the focus to mental health,” McNamara added.

“Ernie’s wife and son were there for the final game, so it was nice to have them there.”

During last year’s tournament, McNamara played on a “Class of 1995” squad that included Kevin Hegerty, a fellow Surrey firefighter who took his own life in March after years of struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This year’s tournament had “a lot of positive energy and attitude around it,” McNamara said.

“It really felt that way, with the bad year we had, you know, it was the fellows coming together and remembering the fellows that we lost. It was also about spending some quality time together and raising awareness about the issue of mental health, too. It’s all really important.”

The high-tempo Competitive Division games included teams from Surrey, Delta, Vancouver and Burnaby.

“The action can be really good because we have some ex-NHLers in some of the departments,” McNamara said. “It’s pretty fun to watch.”

The association’s school snack program will continue to benefit from other fundraising efforts, he said.

“We still strongly support the snack program (and) we have a lot of resources going there, so we changed the focus of the tournament and the proceeds from it will go to our mental-health initiatives,” McNamara explained.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

Just Posted

Friends of ‘Mac’ rally to fund young family left behind by former martial arts teacher in Surrey

‘He’s well loved,’ says operator of Fraser Heights academy where Mackenzie MacWilliams studied, worked

Surrey burglar loses appeal on Hook & Ladder break-in conviction

The case centred on a Jan. 3, 2016 break-in at the Newton pub

Police food drive to help feed North Delta kids

Donations collected will go support the Rotary Club’s Starfish Pack program

Seven years after daughter’s death, grieving mother issues new appeal for answers

Ashley Chauvin’s body was found near South Surrey’s Nicomekl River in July 2012

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

Canada privacy watchdog taking Facebook to court

If the court application is successful, it could lead to modest fines and an order for Facebook to revamp its privacy

One million recyclable bottles “lost” daily in B.C., foundation says

387 million beverage containers didn’t make it back into the province’s regulated deposit refund system in 2017

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

VIDEO: Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Fraser Valley

The $235 million project includes upgrades to overpasses and a rail bridge

Most Read