There was plenty to cheer about at the first Cochrane Fire-RCMP charity Hockey Game in six years.

"The crowd was spectacular," says Cst. Darwin Lewko, who co-organized the event with Chris Chyka, Cochrane Firefighters Association president. "We got a way better turnout than we anticipated, especially on a short notice."

The first responders drew a crowd when they laced up for a little fun on Family Day. The scoreboard read 8-6 for Fire with the final goal an empty-netter.

But the real winner was the Cochrane Foundation, the charity selected for the game.

"We don't have a total yet, but by the looks of the turnout, we think it's going to be fantastic," says Chris. "We had a lot of people step up to support the game."

It was free to attend, but people had a chance to enter raffles for some skookum prizes which were donated by several local businesses.

To add a little buzz to the event, Cochrane Toyota sponsored a shoot-out, with the top prize being a big screen TV. The other two participants also received prizes.

"We were able to take part in this and bring these prizes and have some sort of game to make the activity more dynamic and engaging for the audience, especially to celebrate Family Day," says Mili Palacios, from Toyota's marketing team. "I think it was a great initiative, and we're very proud to be part of it."

Retired RCMP officer Lyle Marianchuk won top prize in the shootout.

shoot out prizeShootout winner Lyle Marianchuk with former NHLer Mason Raymond and Mili Palocies, left, and Nicola Wright, of Cochrane Toyota.

"My only strategy was to watch the hockey game, and I was lucky enough to get drawn," says Lyle. "I just started playing hockey again this year after a 15-year hiatus, so maybe that helped me a little bit today."

Despite being a retired RCMP officer, he was cheering for Fire, for good reason. His son is a firefighter.


Also adding a thrill for young ones in attendance were the RCMP and fire services mascots roaming through the stands. They gave out plenty of high fives along the way.

Both teams recruited ringers from Cochrane. Former NHLer Mason Raymond laced up for the RCMP and scored their first goal (a few others followed). Tanner House played for Fire and was part of the Edmonton Oilers organization, playing a few seasons with their AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons.

cheering on dadSome fans brought signs to cheer on their favourite player. 

Up until Monday, the game's trophy was in the hands of the RCMP, who won it the last time the game was played in 2018. We all know what that means.

"Rubber match next year," Chris and Darwin said almost in unison.

"The rebuilding starts today," says Darwin. "We're going to iron out all the kinks and we'll be back next time to battle, and maybe we can pull it off."