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Father-son duo to partake in CHaD hockey game pitting Police against Fire

  • Concord fire fighter Tom Nault (center) shows a puck to his buddy, Greyson (left), and Greyson’s sister Makenna.  Courtesy

  • The father-son duo of Tom (right) and Nick Nault (center left) spend time with their CHaD Buddies Makenna (left) and Greyson. Courtesy

  • Concord fire fighter Tom Nault shows his CHaD Buddy, Greyson, his hockey stick in December. Nault will play in the Battle of the Badges on Sunday. Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 3/25/2018 12:17:30 AM

Concord fire fighter Tom Nault played in the first CHaD Battle of the Badges hockey game in 2008. His son, Nick, was 8 years old.

Ten years later, the two will be the first father-son duo on the same team when the puck drops Sunday at 3 p.m. at SNHU Arena in Manchester.

It will be the third time that Tom, a 25-year veteran of the Concord Fire Department, has played in the event. Nick, a member of the Goffstown Fire Department, is playing in his first.

Both play defense and Tom hopes to share blue-line shifts with his son, who played four years at Goffstown High and graduated in 2017.

“He’s a far better player than I,” Tom said. “We’ll see how the lines match up.”

Sunday marks the 11th Battle of the Badges game, which benefits children receiving care from Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. The game pits New Hampshire fire fighters against police officers on the ice in a competitive clash of red and blue.

The last father-son combination on the ice were Dover’s Perry and Chris Plummer playing from opposite benches.

History favors of the Police, who have won six of nine games. The 2013 event had a different look with police and fire fighters teaming up in a East-West All-Star game.

The event returned to its original form in 2014, and the Police have won three of the last four games.

Aside from the on-ice competition, teams are also measured in a race to raise money for CHaD. The Police won last year’s game and led in fundraising with $100,746.

Participants are aiming to raise $275,000 this year, which would push the event’s all-time total to more than $2 million.

The game has shown signs of growth consistently through the last decade. The total amount of money raised has increased in every year except for one.

Tom Nault noticed a much higher turnout when he returned to the ice in last year’s event, his first since the inaugural game in 2008 when $77,000 was generated. The competition can be fierce, but both sides take the fundraising effort seriously so the event can continue to support CHaD.

“Initially it drew a much smaller crowd, but throughout the years it has just grown,” he said. “You don’t want to call it a ‘rivalry’ because it is a fun game. But the talent of the players alone has made it that much more of a competitive environment.”

Players must raise a minimum of $1,500 to participate in the game. The Naults met each of their thresholds quickly. Nick, who hosted a spaghetti dinner and got a $1,000 match from Positive Tracks in Hanover, has so far raised about $3,400. His father has generated about $2,700 so far.

As of Saturday evening, the event’s website reported a total of about $227,000 raised this year.

The Fire team is looking for its first win since 2015. Team Police has handed the fire fighters a couple tough losses in the last two years.

Nault totaled a goal and added two assists in the 2008 and 2017 games. Fellow Concord fire fighter Ian Gill is back to participate in his fifth game. Henniker FD’s Bryant Carbone and Gilmanton’s Matt McGilvray will try to help the Fire squad get back in the win column, as well.

Bow police Officer Phil Lamy and Concord PD’s Kyle Pratte and Paul Shaughnessy will line up in blue. Lamy is playing in his eighth game and boasts 12 points (goal, 11 assists) in his previous seven.

The Fire squad is coached by Micky Drouin of Dover with Laconia’s Dennis Coumeau as an assistant coach. The Police are led by retired Kensington chief Wayne Sheehan behind the bench.

In addition to the game and fundraising, players are paired with a CHaD Buddy, a child receiving care from the hospital. Tom Nault has known his buddy, Greyson, since they were paired in last year’s game, and Nick was paired with Greyson’s sister, Makenna, this year. Greyson and Makenna’s brother, Dechlin, is buddies with Conway FD’s Garrett Meador.

This aspect of the game is especially enjoyable, Tom Nault said.

“Just staying in contact with the family,” he said. “They came to Nick’s fundraiser, they stopped by the firehouse last week and got to play around.”

Tickets to Sunday’s game are $10 and kids age 5 and younger are free. Tickets are available at the SNHU Arena box office, which opens at 10 a.m.

(Nick Stoico can be reached at nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)

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