TEWKSBURY, MASS. (WHDH) - A bitterly cold night was spent on the ice in Tewksbury where a bunch of kids challenged a group of police officers to a friendly competition.
Wednesday night’s game was made possible by the Tewksbury Police Department after put a call out on social media to find the best backyard rink in town hoping for a game between some police officers and youth players.
“We’re always looking for creative ways to interact with the community,” said Chief Ryan Columbus. “We threw it out there not sure what kind of response we would get.”
Suggestions poured in for Brian Abruzzi’s setup on Sunset Drive. He has been creating the beautiful backyard rink since Thanksgiving and dedicated it to his grandmother, Mary R. Fontana.
“If you build something like this, you just want to see it be used, right? So this is great. This is why we do it,” he said.
The matchup itself was not lacking in pomp nor circumstance. The National Anthem was played beforehand and frenzied pictures snapped throughout.
As the lineup changed so everyone could get their chance to play, family members and friends stood by sipping on cocoa, warming up by the fire, and taking in an event that meant so much to these kids.
“I was looking forward to it because I’ve never played cops and it was special to be outside,” said Justin Harrington.
“It was a great experience. Something I’ve never done before, and it was pretty fun,” said Owen Sovie.
This night was just as impactful for the officers who got the chance to lace up their skates, instead of putting on their uniforms in celebration of the town they are proud to serve.
“No one’s inviting us to birthday parties. No one’s inviting us to their great moments in their life. It’s always their worst moments,” Columbus said. “For our officers to have positive interactions, it makes a difference. It makes a difference. It’s rewarding.”