PORTLAND, Maine — They put out fires for a living, and they have figured out another way to help their neighbors—from the ice.
"Being firefighters, EMTs, we see a lot of need in the community," Mike Norton, a South Portland firefighter and EMT, said. "We thought about, you know, a lot of us love to play hockey so this will be a great chance for us to get back to something we love to do with the people that we spend a lot of time with and do some good at the same time."
That was the thought of members of South Portland Professional Firefighters four years ago when they started Checking for Charity.
The hockey tournament raises money for their charitable funds account which supports more than 16 charitable organizations, like the Travis Roy Foundation.
"Anybody that's local knows that Travis was a prominent hockey player that came out of Yarmouth, North Yarmouth Academy is where he played," Norton said. "[He] went to Boston University, suffered a terrible accident: spinal cord injury in his first shift of his first game."
Roy has spent nearly 25 years advocating for spinal cord injury survivors. NEWS CENTER Maine spoke with the Maine Sports Hall of Famer in 2016.
"Yes, I'd like to walk again I'd like to end paralysis as we know it," Roy said. "And I think we will. But in my lifetime, I don't know."
His mission is supported by Maine's hockey community.
"The focal point here is community," Norton said.
Checking for Charity raised nearly $25,000 last year. This year their goal is to raise $30,000.
Interested? Mark your calendar for March 15. The 4th annual event is happening at the Troubh Ice Arena in Portland. Doors open at 11 a.m. and there are games at noon, 1, and 2 p.m. Admission is free and donations are accepted at the door.