Bishop Smith takes on OPP in friendly game of hockey
Bishop Smith's girls and boys hockey teams faced off against a team of officers from the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP in a couple of friendly hockey games at the PMC on Dec. 21.
Officers from the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP and players from Bishop Smith Catholic High School strapped on their skates for a friendly hockey game at the PMC, with the cops coming out on the winning side.
Originally founded by retired Cst. Beth Ethier, with Fellowes High School participating in the first initial event a couple of years ago, the fun initiative has now become an annual tradition.
This year, the OPP reached out to Bishop Smith athletes to partake in the stick-and-puck game on Dec. 21 at the Pembroke Memorial Centre, two days before the students’ Christmas holidays began.
“Cst. Sean Peever contacted me and asked if Bishop Smith would be interested in playing a fun game of hockey before the Christmas holidays. This is the first time we’ve done this and we thought we would get both our girls hockey team and our boys hockey team on the ice,” said Sue Cotnam, Bishop Smith teacher.
The one-hour event was broken into two games, with the OPP facing off against the Bishop Smith girls in the first half following by the boys in the second.
All 730 Bishop Smith students, along with staff and some family members, cheered on their athletes from the stands, as all teams displayed tremendous skill and effort.
“We did a food drive for the students to get out of class,” said Cotnam. “So they brought in a non-perishable food item to come out here to watch the hockey game.”
After putting up an impressive fight, the girls were ultimately defeated 5-2 by the OPP.
In the second game, the Bishop boys were up 4-2 in the third period, but the OPP stealthily netted two final shots in the last minute of the game – tying up the score 4-4. To break the tie, the game went into a shoot-out that saw the OPP win 5-4.
Cotnam acknowledged and appreciated the off-ice benefits of having a bit of friendly competition between a bunch of teenagers and local police officers.
“It’s a great opportunity and a great community-building experience for our students,” said Cotnam. “And I think it's quite successful and we hope to continue to be able to do this in future years.”
Cst. Sean Peever agreed that the main purpose of the hockey tradition is to foster rapport between officers and students by demonstrating that the OPP officers are friendly and approachable people – whether on or off the ice.
“It's a fantastic way to promote a positive interaction between the police and the young people in our community as they get to see us in a different light rather than just an enforcement role. So next time we visit their school or they see us in the community, they know that we're not just enforcers but that they can approach us,” said Peever.