Blue Line

Charity the big winner in OPP versus St Theresa’s hockey game

November 29, 2022  By Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nov. 29, 2022, Orillia, Ont. – The staff and students of St. Theresa’s Catholic High School taught the Southern Georgian Bay OPP a few lessons in floor hockey on Monday, all for the benefit of United Way Simcoe Muskoka.

The charity floor hockey game was played in the gymnasium of St. Theresa’s, with the entire student populace spectating for the two 15-minute periods.

On the side of the SGB OPP was community safety officer Const. Elana Durtnall, who shared the connection between the police detachment and the charity organization.

“The OPP is a huge supporter of the United Way; our detachment supports the United Way of Simcoe Muskoka,” said Durtnall. “All the money that we’re raising at the game today from the school is going to go back into the Southern Georgian Bay community through the United Way Simcoe Muskoka.”

St. Theresa’s Principal George Luck was seen preparing his team of staff and students prior to the game, and shared the event’s origin.

“I was approached by the OPP about a month-and-a-half ago about setting up a community fundraiser to help out with United Way for Christmas here in Midland,” Luck explained.

And what were their odds heading into the match of professional police officers versus teenagers on their home turf?

“Not to toot my own horn,” humorously boasted Durtnall, “but we’ve won in the past (against other schools/students), so I expect that to continue.”

Said Luck tongue-in-cheek, “We’re in development and it’s our hope that we hold our own but we don’t know. I think that they’ve recruited from across the province to come in and challenge us, so we will see how we do today.”

The junior classes filed into the gymnasium for the game’s first half, bombarded by rocking music by the in-school DJ. Teams did warm-up stretches and practices in their own zones; St. T’s wearing their Thunder team jerseys, and the SGB OPP wearing their inclusion team jerseys.

Once the floor hockey ball – a floaty sphere of light plastic – was released onto the rink, it was game on. Back-and-forth, end-to-end, brightly-coloured plastic sticks smacked into the ground while students and teams cheered loudly. A crowd ‘wave’ was started in the stands. Goals were scored and retaliatory goals were also scored; by the end of the first it was 3-2 in favour of the OPP.

“St. T’s is bringing the Thunder,” admitted Durtnall with a laugh, referencing the school’s team name. “I’m impressed.”

“I’m surprised at the tenacity of the OPP as they play some teenagers,” jabbed Luck to Durtnall’s amusement, “but I’m certainly impressed by the competition that’s going on. First we have to tie it up; I don’t want to look too far ahead. One goal at a time.”

As the juniors departed and the seniors entered the stands, the stadium atmosphere continued with more cheering. A dance-off between St. T’s mascots Storm and Jojo took place.

The ball dropped to start the second half, and it was all students. They swarmed the OPP goal and didn’t let up. Goal after goal ringed in for St. T’s, despite the officers getting a few solid attempts and goals of their own on the students.

At game’s end, there was no score given.

“We lost,” Durtnall conceded. “These kids outran us, outplayed us; they’re in some pretty fit condition.”

Luck continued his humorous take on the event. “I was very proud of the accomplishment of our players; the training really paid off. If there’s another match, we look forward to it; I’m sure the OPP will bring their game the next time.”

While the score may have been overwhelmingly in favour of the school, there were no losers.

Said Durtnall, “The United Way Simcoe Muskoka is the winner at the end of this game, for sure.”

“We hope that we’ve collected a modest donation for them at Christmas time,” added Luck.

United Way Simcoe Muskoka seeks to improve lives and build communities through collective resourcing and action; through the funding of critical services in the community, United Way ensures that residents have the resources and assistance they need to unlock their full potential.

To help United Way Simcoe Muskoka through the winter holiday season, visit their website for more information.


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