Dallas Police Officer Carlos De La Fuente turned on the jets, streaking up the left wing side. Before anyone watching could blink, De La Fuente was involved in a dust-up with his opponent, a member of the Dallas Fire Department, in the corners.
The rivalry of police and fire has been a long-standing one, dating back as far (if not farther) than any rivalry in the NHL. And much like an NHL team, the DPD and DFD first responders came together on the ice in an effort to establish their dominance in another of a long string of fire versus police events.
According to Brian Simonds, #91 on the DPD Hockey team, the competitiveness on the ice helps each of them to keep from being consumed by their jobs protecting the City of Dallas.
Simonds, De La Fuente, DPD’s Steven Jedlowski, and DFD’s Chad Russ organized the inaugural Dallas Strong Hockey charity game last Saturday evening as a way to honor first responders and allow them to raise funds for two of their own.
William An, a paramedic with the Dallas Fire Department, was shot in May by a suicidal gunman in the South Dallas/Fair Park neighborhood. He took a bullet to the leg that broke his femur and severed his femoral artery, causing him to lose a lot of blood. An had to be resuscitated in the emergency room, but survived and has a long recovery ahead.
Dale Ordogne, a Dallas Police officer, was struck by a truck that had been stolen in a hit-and-run incident at the end of May. The injuries he sustained were a result of his cruiser being flipped and landing in a creek: a broken clavicle, broken ribs, broken teeth, punctured lungs, and a ruptured eardrum.
The two incidents were a reminder of how important first responders are, said Simonds. The organizers felt that the hockey game was a good way to help their fallen comrades as well as an effort to bring the community together. Brittany Hall, of the DPD, came up with the name of the event, with “Dallas Strong” embodying the support of first responders in Dallas after the shooting last July that left five officers dead.
- The Dallas Fire Department hockey team lines up for the national anthem at the inaugural Dallas Strong Hockey charity game. Taylor Baird
- The Dallas Police Department hockey team lines up for the national anthem at the inaugural Dallas Strong Hockey charity game. Taylor Baird
- Brian Simonds (DPD) celebrates during the Dallas Strong Hockey charity game. Fire walked away with a 7-5 win. Photo used by permission of Dallas Police Hockey (Will Markus / Jayme Schlais)
- The Dallas Police Department took on the Dallas Fire Department Saturday night to raise funds for first responders. Photo used by permission of Dallas Police Hockey (Will Markus / Jayme Schlais)
- Dallas Fire Department took a commanding 7-1 lead, and would hang on for the win, 7-5. Photo used by permission of Dallas Police Hockey (Will Markus / Jayme Schlais)
- DPD officer Carlos De La Fuenta was one of the organizers of the inaugural Dallas Strong Hockey charity game that drew 1,000 spectators on Saturday evening. Photo used by permission of Dallas Police Hockey (Will Markus / Jayme Schlais)
- Sales of merchandise was just one way in which the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire Department raised money at the inaugural Dallas Strong Hockey charity game. Taylor Baird
Nearly 1,000 people showed up on Saturday at the Dallas Stars’ Dr Pepper StarCenter in Farmers Branch to watch DPD take on DFD. Simonds was told the turnout was the most for a game the facility has had in seven or eight years.
Simonds, De La Fuente, and Russ were definitely taken off-guard by the support they received for the event they put together. It only took a month of organizing for them to feel overwhelming support, whether it was the donation of the ice time for the event or the number of sponsors that wanted to be involved.
They charged a small admission fee of $5 and sold merchandise. Raffle tickets were sold that saw several nice bottles of whiskey and bourbon as well as lottery tickets and gift cards for several lucky attendees. With the donation of the ice time, the majority of the money generated at the event Saturday will go to help the two honorees and as well as other first responder charities.
The Dallas Police Hockey team has participated in several tournaments and charity events, with the team experiencing a bit of a rebirth since last July’s fateful night. They’ve taken on police departments from other parts of the state and country. Simonds hopes that they can continue hosting the Dallas Strong Hockey game each year, with plans to host it next summer already floating around in their heads.
The outcome of the game wasn’t important, as the fire and police and their supporters enjoyed a fun night in a cold rink for a good cause. But since everyone loves a little competition, Fire came out ahead 7-5 after Police’s incredible comeback in the third cut the score from 7-1 to make it much closer.
You can follow Dallas Police Hockey on Twitter @dpdhockey or on Facebook under “Dallas Police Hockey”. For any inquiries on how you could get involved reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.