The Southeastern Ohio community has given so much to the hockey program over the past few years. And on Sunday, Ohio was able to give back.
Ohio partnered with the First Responder Face Off Foundation to put on a first responders charity hockey game at Bird Arena on Sunday. The foundation, which works to support first responders through the game of hockey, has held events all over the state of Ohio. Sunday’s game was its first-ever in Athens and at Bird Arena.
The face off took place between the Ohio Hockey Alumni Team and the Columbus Police and Fire Department. Many recent alumni from both Ohio’s Division I and Division II programs came back to support — and bring home a 4-3 win.
However, the Face Off was unlike a normal hockey game. There was no aggressive play and hardly any penalties. Instead, the game was friendly and about more than a win or a loss.
It was about honoring first responders and remembering Officer Scott R. Dawley.
Dawley served as a police officer in Nelsonville for seven years before August 2021, when he was killed in a car accident while on duty. Dawley was a beloved member of the Nelsonville and Athens community.
After his death, Dawley’s family set up a scholarship in his name. The Officer Scott R. Dawley Memorial Scholarship benefits graduating high school seniors who want to pursue a career in public safety. The proceeds from the charity game on Sunday went toward the scholarship, as well as Dawley’s family.
Being able to give back and support the community is something that is super important to both Jackie and Greg Forquer, the president and secretary of Ohio’s Blueline Boosters. Greg Forquer’s father was a police officer, so the cause is especially important to him. When thinking about the possibility that he could have lost his father during his time as an officer, Forquer started to tear up.
“You don't think about it when you're a little kid," Forquer said. "When your parent puts on the uniform and goes out for the day, that might be the last time you see them. The older you get, the more it gets to the back of your head.”
Ohio coach Lionel Mauron was also glad Ohio could give back to the community that has given so much to it. He’s glad many alumni, including some of his former players, could come back to be part of it as well. Current players, including Blake Rossi, did not play in the game but helped out. Rossi helped serve as a referee.
“It's what it's all about,” Mauron said. “The community does so much for us (by) supporting us, supporting the program, and the players. Doing little things like this just brings everything together and I think that's the type of program that we want to build, so I'm really proud of what we've done today.”