Posted at: 03/15/2013 5:26 PM
Updated at: 03/16/2013 1:16 AM
By: Maarja Anderson
Police officers, firemen, and members of the military are playing hockey in the Northland this weekend for the 7th Annual Lake Superior Lawmen Hockey Classic.
This year, 24 teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and even Canada are competing in the tournament at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center and at SAHA Arena in Superior.
"There's always good competition," said organizer and Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Chip Lemon. "When the Canadians come, there's always good competition."
But this two-day tournament that draws in 400 players and fans, isn't just about winning. Each year, the Lake Superior Lawmen choose a charity to support. This year, it's the Courage Center of Duluth. The program provides adaptive sports and recreation programs to youth with physical disabilities, as well as kids on the autism spectrum. All of their raffle money raised will go towards new modified sports equipment for the Courage Center.
Volunteer, Susan Sauls, said the Courage Center was the only way her daughter, who gets around in a wheelchair, was able to try sports.
"These heroes donate to Courage Center so that we can continue doing more programming," said Sauls. "They are all around great guys."
While playing out their department rivalries on the rink, these lawmen also play hockey so kids with disabilities have the chance to take the ice someday, too. Lemon said the Courage Center is the perfect program to support because it's all about getting active.
"It goes right with what we're going, it's getting people involved with sports," said Lemon. "Getting special equipment... so they can still stay active and have fun."
The tournament continues Saturday and all of the games are free and open to the public.