Region – Mike Matros is a Marlborough resident, member of the Sudbury Fire Department and an avid hockey player. He is also a runner who this year will be participating in the Boston Marathon to raise funds for a cause close to his heart – the Last Call Foundation which supports firefighter safety.
The foundation was founded by Kathy Crosby-Bell in honor of her son, fallen Firefighter Michael Kennedy, who along with Lieutenant Edward Walsh died battling a nine-alarm fire on March 26, 2014 in Boston’s Back Bay.
On Saturday, March 12 Matros will combine his interests by hosting a “Firefighter Face-off” hockey game/fundraiser which will feature two teams of firefighters from around the region squaring off at the New England Sports Center (NESC) in Marlborough.
“It will be a great family event. We will have lots of door prizes and raffles and games for the kids,” he said.
“The business community has been so generous with their donations,” he noted, including NESC, who is donating the ice time.
He is also appreciative, he said, of the support from his fellow firefighters.
“Word just really spread and so many guys wanted to play, even some who have never played the game before,” he said. “A lot of guys have gone out on their own and purchased equipment so they could play.”
Just prior to the start of the game, there will be another passionate hockey fan in the house – Rene Rancourt, the iconic singer known for his stirring renditions of the national anthem at Boston Bruins games.
“Rene is so awesome – he loves firefighters,” Matros said. “He heard about the game and said he wanted to be involved. He will actually be singing the anthem at a Bruins game that afternoon, then driving out to Marlborough to do ours.”
Other participants will be a fire department color guard and the Worcester Pipes and Drums band.
As word of the event has spread, there has been another unexpected connection that has been made, Matros said.
“A veterans group, Skate for the 22 Foundation, reached out to me,” he said. “They asked if they could be involved too, helping out with practice scrimmages.”
The foundation’s name reflects the fact that, according to its website, www.skateforthe22.com, “22 veterans of the U.S. Military lose the battle at home every day, and take their own lives.”
Playing hockey is just one way for veterans to have something fun to do while also spreading their important message of letting those who have served and are now in crisis know they are not alone, Matros said.
“It’s been very cool to become friends with these guys,” he added. “They will all be at the game supporting us.”
The March 12 game will start at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 each and will be available at the door. Kids age 10 and under are free.