Published online at Edmonton.Ctvnews.ca on Dec. 27, 2012.
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: December 27, 2012
Annual hockey game builds relationships in McCauley neighbourhood
Dozens of kids in central Edmonton laced up their skates to compete with city police officers during an annual hockey competition Thursday, that aims to build relationships in the city’s core.
“This is the beat cops coming and mixing with all the kids from this neighbourhood,” said former Oilers player Al Hamilton.
“Many of them would probably look at them as adversaries down the road. This is a relationship builder and the police treat them great. It’s fun for them to have this game and everyone goes away with a smile on their face.”
The 4th annual McCauley Cup brought out dozens of kids and police officers to the McCauley community outdoor hockey rink. All youth who live in the neighbourhood are invited to play in the game or just come out and watch.
Sgt. Dave Kabyn with the Edmonton Police Service says the yearly game lets neighbourhood kids see police in a different way.
“It’s the connection with the youth. It’s an opportunity to see them with us in different circumstances, a different light and similarly with us with them as well,” Kabyn said.
Ten-year-old Luigi Benincasa was known as Little Crosby during the game.
Benincasa loves hockey, and on Thursday, showed off his moves by weaving through the players, many were officers twice his size.
The young boy says the McCauley Cup helps break down barriers between youth and officers.
“You get to know them, to not be afraid if something is wrong to call them,” Benincasa said.
The rink itself has become a second home for many kids in the area.
“They line up here to get in when we open during the week, we feed them, provide them with all the equipment they need and give them an opportunity that they probably wouldn’t have,” Hamilton said.
The game also helps keep kids on a positive track.
“It’s a really important area and great for kids to be out here instead of some other things they could be doing,” said former Oiler Jason Strudwick.
“If we can keep one or two of them out of trouble, it’s worth it,” Hamilton said.
For the first time since the annual game began, kids got to pose with a McCauley Cup trophy which was purchased through the Edmonton Police Foundation.
Kids posed with officers and Oilers alumni with the trophy and the pictures were printed off and given to the youth as a keepsake.
With files from Dez Melenka