MEDICINE HAT, AB – It’s back to work this week for city police officers from across the Prairies, but they’ll have some stories to tell after lacing up the skates in the ‘Gas City.’
Officers from five detachments hit the ice at the Kinplex over the weekend, all competing for the annual Medicine Hat Police Invitational Hockey Tournament.
Teams from the Medicine Hat Police Service, Calgary Police Service and Lethbridge Police represented Alberta, while the tournament also drew out Saskatchewan-based teams from the Regina Police Service and Moose Jaw Police Service.
Spanning decades, the tournament sees new officers take part each year including a handful of rookies on the Medicine Hat squad.
One of those first-year players over the weekend was Medicine Hat Police Cst. Taylor Olenic, who said it was a competitive atmosphere with some high-end hockey players moving into policing.
“I’d like to say that I have a lot of skill, but I don’t,” said Olenic. “It’s mostly just about fun, but there’s quite a few guys out there that have played high-calibre hockey and they still show it, which is great.”
The first weekend of November has been a mainstay for players like Cst. Jay Sills however, as he returned to Medicine Hat with his team from Moose Jaw.
Sills said it’s a great refresher to re-connect with those he’s met over the years not only at the invitational tournament, but at courses and conferences as well.
“I’m in my 17th year and I pretty much come every year,” said Sills. “So, you get to see guys once a year, you get to see guys you wouldn’t normally see. Just where they’re at in their careers, where I’m at in my career, some of the things we’ve experienced. And, it’s just good to get together, take your walls down, and just talk.”
In the end, the Calgary Police Service were victorious on Sunday and captured the tournament title, however the real winner of the weekend was HALO Air Rescue.
According to Medicine Hat Police, all proceeds raised over the course of the weekend will be donated towards the local organization.
Olenic said while it’s always a blast getting to hit the ice, the weekend has extra meaning as officers are able to connect with each other and the community as a whole.
“It’s nice to have the uniform off and to chat with everybody as a human being is great,” said Olenic. “And, it’s nice to see all these young kids out here having fun too and it’s awesome.”
Medicine Hat Police are still tallying the total donation to HALO, but are expected to announce the final number sometime in the next week.
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