BIrmingham Chief of Police Mark Clemence poses with Birmingham Unified’s William Sanders and Marysville High’s Hunter Miller after a ceremonial puck drop. Unified won the “Safety Night” game 11-1 to move to 9-2-1 overall.

BIrmingham Chief of Police Mark Clemence poses with Birmingham Unified’s William Sanders and Marysville High’s Hunter Miller after a ceremonial puck drop. Unified won the “Safety Night” game 11-1 to move to 9-2-1 overall.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Birmingham Unified honors Public safety personnel on ‘Safety Night’

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 14, 2019

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BIRMINGHAM — There often are times in sports where things happen that surpass the game itself. A recent example came Jan. 12 at Birmingham Ice Arena, where the Birmingham Unified hockey program treated local public safety members to a free hockey game on “Safety Night.”

Not only was the product on the ice entertaining as the Kings mercied Marysville High 11-1 after two periods to move to 9-2-1 on the season, there were plenty of things going on away from the game that made the night just as special.

The night began with a ceremonial puck drop from Birmingham Chief of Police Mark Clemence and K-9 Bella. Three pairs of Red Wings tickets were also given away to local officers. Winners of the Wings tickets were Brent McCumber, of the Birmingham PD; Ed Nolan, of the Bloomfield Township PD; and Jeff Moore, of the Beverly Hills PD.

As is tradition at BU hockey games, the first intermission saw a game of bubble hockey as two local Birmingham public school students, Ryan Duggy and Nevil Hargrave-Thomas, took on Nick Soley, of the Bloomfield Township PD, and Scott McIntyre, of the Birmingham PD.

The idea for this event came from Birmingham Unified Booster Board President Gary Piotrowicz. Piotrowicz, along with Kings coach Mike Boback, wanted a way to give back and form a stronger community bond.

“They’re always there for us — why can’t we be there for them with a fun night?” Boback said. “Have a night on us and our great little city arena. That’s the whole thing. Absolutely, it’s a big night for us to give people who work their tails off the night off. It’s awesome.”

Boback’s players felt just as strong about that message.

“We just take away not taking anything for granted,” senior forward Dylan Resnick said. “They do hard work, and we don’t always think about it because it doesn’t always affect us. They do all the hard work that doesn’t really get appreciated, so I think that’s what we have to take away from it.”

Resnick scored a pair of goals in the game and said playing in this  game gave the team an extra jump as it took the ice. The Kings led 4-0 at the end of the first period, and Marysville only mustered up one quality scoring chance.

“(The public safety officers) give you a lot of motivation,” Resnick said. “It’s cool to put on a fun game for them, and they definitely give you some motivation. It was pretty cool.”

Resnick and the other team captains went around to local precincts and firehouses to extend an invitation to the game. Boback hopes that the simple interaction with others in the community will act as a lesson that sticks with them for life.

“I just hope it’s the community involvement as they go forward,” Boback said when asked what he wants his players to take away from the evening. “That they’re teaching their kids all these little life lessons. There are a ton of people out there who would give their life to come and help you out.”
The Unified hockey program doesn’t plan to stop holding these types of games anytime soon. Next month, the Kings’ junior varsity and varsity teams will play charity games to honor the family and celebrate the life of Ella Blonsky, a student of Derby Middle School in Birmingham who died from cancer at the end of 2018.

The games will take place Feb. 2, with the JV team playing Bloomfield Hills High at 2 p.m. and the varsity squad set to take the ice at 3:30 p.m.

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