The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office will be taking the ice Saturday for its annual showdown with the Jamestown Area Lakers Sled Hockey Team. Deputies are hoping to secure their first win in the friendly exhibition game designed to raise funds for the sled team.
The yearly fundraiser will start at 5 p.m. at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. Due to the cost of ice time, travel expenses and equipment for the sled team, the exhibition game is used to offset some of the expenses, the Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
"For several years a few hockey enthusiasts from the Sheriff's Office have played an exhibition game against the Lakers Sled Hockey team," Undersheriff Charles Holder said.
He added: "We have turned this into the Lakers' annual fundraiser which we love to be a part of. The sport of hockey is an expensive proposition for parents and athletes. It is our goal to raise enough money to pay for the entire year of ice time for the team."
The Lakers team was formed a decade ago, and was developed to give handicapped children the ability to play the sport using specially designed sleds. Players on the team do not pay anything out of pocket, but costs nonetheless are rising for the program.
These costs include equipment for players, starting at $450 each; specifically designed sleds at $600 each; and ice time, which currently costs $165 an hour.
The event last year raised enough money - around $4,000 - to cover the cost of ice time, said Deputy Jeff Hover of the Sheriff's Office. "The goal is to cover the costs," Hover said. "That's why we decided to do this fundraiser."
The Sheriff's Office this year is looking for a competitive game, considering they have yet to win against a tough Lakers team.
"Although our record is not the best against the Lakers, this year we have new hockey jerseys and a renewed enthusiasm to give the Lakers a challenging game," Holder said.
"I know we look forward to this game as much as the kids do," he said. "To see the smiles on their faces when they check us against the boards is worth all sore arms and shoulders we have the next day. We hope the community comes out and supports this great group of kids and the sport the love."
The exhibition game will last for two hours. There also will be a Chinese auction; tickets will be on sale from 1-6 p.m. Saturday. The Porcelain Busdrivers will be playing at Shawbucks in the city to support the fundraiser. A 50/50 drawing and additional giveaways are expected. Monetary donations will be welcomed.