First responders hit XL Center ice for 'Guns and Hoses' charity - WFSB 3 Connecticut

First responders hit XL Center ice for 'Guns and Hoses' charity event

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First responders participate in the "Guns and Hoses" charity hockey event at the XL Center. (WFSB) First responders participate in the "Guns and Hoses" charity hockey event at the XL Center. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The XL Center in Hartford hosted eight hockey games over the weekend, but only two involved the Wolfpack.

First responders took part in their annual "Guns and Hoses" charity hockey event.

"This is our eighth year at the XL Center for the 'Guns and Hoses' charity event," said Lt .Timothy George, East Hartford Fire Department. "We've been doing it for eight years with the Wolfpack. It's a great event. It keeps getting bigger and bigger."

Dozens of police officers, firefighters and EMS technicians from across the state replaced their uniforms with jerseys.

"It's always fun to play out on the ice the Whalers played on and that the Wolfpack play on now," said Jonathan Serpliss, Hartford Fire Department.

What started as a small fundraiser between the Hartford Wolfpack and the East Hartford Fire Department turned into a large two-day event.

"I think we were thinking just one game and then it turned into two and then pretty much five games in one day and now we're doing back-to-back days," said Dave Romeiko, Hartford Wolfpack sales manager. "So there's a lot of games and a lot of money being raised for."

This year, the Guns and Hoses event raised money for the South Park Inn Veterans Program.

"They help veterans who are homeless, jobless, or having problems with their VA system, things like that," George said. "So those people come in, work with the folks in the veterans program, get them back on track [and] find them a place to live. They actually have a shelter where they can stay and they can live for a couple weeks while they find them a place to live, help them find a job, get them back on their feet and get them back out into productive society."

First responders said it's important to have fun afternoons for charity because of the stress that comes with their jobs.

"This is a way for these folks to relieve some stress, have a good time, not have to worry about all that stuff," George said. "There's always that comradery, but there's also that little bit of rivalry between police and fire too. So sometimes it does get a little rough, but we remember at the end of the day we're here to have a lot of fun with each other, raise some money for charity and everyone go home safely."

"I get really emotional when it comes to the military," Romeiko said. "I have family that are police officers and military vets, so it definitely touches my heart when I see everybody out there going for a good cause. It means a lot."

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