Local law enforcement, firefighters and other government employees will take the ice today for the annual Guns and Hoses Charity Hockey Game.
In its ninth year, the game kicks off at 4 p.m. at the Germain Arena.
Members of the Cape Coral and Fort Myers police, Lee County and Collier County sheriff's offices, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and State Attorney's Office will face off against members of various fire departments, including the Cape, Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Estero, Iona McGregor, South Trail, Marco Island and the airport.
"It's a good rivalry," FMPD Sgt. Sean Hoover, event organizer and captain of the Guns team, said. "It's a rivalry that's been building up for nine years."
Engineer Jake Williams, a member of Cape fire and captain of the Hoses team, explained that the game also helps to foster camaraderie.
"We're two entities that work in the same field together, but not always together," he said. "It's great for the camaraderie, plus it's a good rivalry."
Tickets are $16 and will be available in front of the box office before the game. Proceeds from the event will benefit the For the Kids Foundation.
"It's a foundation that's close to us all," Hoover said. "It's local kids who are battling cancer - we're always looking to help the kids out."
Williams noted that Hoover's son battled leukemia a few years ago.
"This is one that's near and dear to him," he said of the foundation. "Anything we can do to support it - definitely."
The ticket price includes seats to the 7 p.m. Florida Everblades game and access to a tailgate party that will take place after the charity game. The Florida Everblades will battle against the Greenville Road Warriors tonight.
A handful of former Blades will even take part in the charity game.
According to Hoover, Mike Grenzy, Ernie Hartlieb and Cam McCormick are playing with the Guns; Brandon Colter and Bill Kinkel have joined the Hoses.
However, all of the players have some form of hockey experience.
"Most of us, we either grew up playing hockey, are playing hockey now in the men's league - we have guys who played hockey in college," he said.
According to Williams, members of the Hoses take part in a national public safety hockey tournament each year. The team recently came in second.
"We're not bad," he said.
Hoover noted that the Guns goalie is a deputy and former Blades player.
"Even though we're a bunch of cops and firefighters, we're always looking to do good," he said of what originally sparked the idea for the game.
About 600 people attended the game last year, with about $5,000 raised.
Hoover said the teams hope to raise "we much as we can" this year.
"Obviously, we would love to beat last year's goal, but if we can match it, we're just as happy with that, too," he said.
Last year's game ended in a shootout, with the Hoses winning 12-11.
"We have a trophy that goes back and forth," Hoover said. "We're looking to get it back and keep it with the police for the next five to 10 years."
Williams pointed out that the Hoses have had the trophy for a few years.
"They're more than welcome to try, but we've had it for like three years now and we're not ready to give it up," he said. "It looks good at our station."
The tailgate party will feature children's activities, such as a bounce house and face painting. There will also be a live band, wine tasting and vendors.
"They value of the ticket and the fact that the proceeds go to a good cause - they're guaranteed a good time," Hoover said.
"We're giving back to the community that supports us," Williams added.
Only tickets purchased outside of the box office from the first responders will have the purchase price go directly to the For the Kids Foundation.
For information on the charity, visit: www.4thekidsfoundation.org.