The FDNY and NYPD have rivalries that span generations of police officers and firefighters. One of them is when they play multiple tournaments throughout the year against one another.
The FDNY and NYPD teams were looking forward to this year's long-overdue game of charity hockey.
“It doesn’t matter what tournaments we go to, what tournaments we win or lose, how we do in our men’s league that we play in. It basically just comes down to this one game.”Joseph Sanger
The FDNY faced off against the NYPD on the ice at Madison Square Garden with a pregame ceremony that honors the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The game has been played for 47 years, and for the first time, it aired live on ESPN2.
Currently, the FDNY is in the lead with 25 wins, and the NYPD has 18. Two of the games have ended in ties. The game will pay tribute to those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and those who died from related illnesses.
Firefighters and police officers will honor those who died in the line of duty over the past two years. The game's proceeds will go to multiple charities, including the Ray Pfeifer Foundation and the PBA Widows and Children's Fund.
Fun, But Competitive
Detective Mark Gurleski, left-wing, says it is "the most intense charity hockey game you're ever gonna see."
“Everybody hears charity game and they think it’s gonna be like people laughing, having a good time on the ice, taking pictures and stuff like that. But they don’t realize that it’s like a cutthroat game where we go out there and kill each other.”Mark Gurleski
Sanger is a defenseman and firmly believes that there will be more participation, especially after everything the city's first responders have been through over the last year. Sanger's father was in the field when the attacks happened, but he was not.
“I’ll never forget coming home, two or three days after 9/11, and seeing a grown man sitting there with a list of names that were missing at the time, with tears in his eyes. Saying, ‘I just lost all my friends.’ So it means a lot [to be involved]."Joseph Sanger