Annual hockey game raises $17,000 for fire relief

MARQUETTE – Thousands of supporters came to cheer on local police and firefighters in the 30th annual Pigs-N-Heat fire relief fundraiser at Lakeview Arena Wednesday evening.

The two departments battled it out on the ice in a non-contact hockey game for a good cause.

The Pigs came out on top with a 7-2 win over the Heat.

An estimated $17,000 was raised during the event, event coordinator Brian Olson said.

“We had a good turnout,” he said.

Olson said the highlight of the fundraiser was honoring Eric Dompierre and the rest of the 2012 Ishpeming football state championship team as citizens of the year.

Olson estimates about 3,000 to 3,500 people attended the game.

The Fire Relief Fund was created in 1983 to assist families who have lost their homes due to a fire. The money raised goes toward immediate expenses after a fire.

“I have been on the board (Pigs-N-Heat Fire Relief Fund Raiser) for many years.” said Mike Hoffman, a retired Marquette Police Department officer and Pigs coach. “Whenever there is a fire – we are not the insurance company – but we give out as much money per family as we can. It helps them get a little start, providing them with the necessities: toothpaste, clothes, toys for their kids, and a few nights stay in a hotel.”

The fundraiser collects about $10,000 to $12,000 per year and draws 2,500 to 3,000 fans, Hoffman said.

During breaks in the action, fans enjoyed giveaways, chuck-a-puck competitions and honoring representatives from each fire and police department in the township and county.

Attendees were entered in drawings for hundreds of prizes donated by local business. Big prizes included a $1,000 grand prize from Rio Tinto, $750 donated by Associated Redi Mix, a $500 prize donated by Holiday Gas stations and a charter fishing trip donated by Daybreak Charters.

New this year was a chance for one lucky fan to shoot at a target to try to win a side-by-side ATV valued at $15,000 from Marquette Powersports. Todd Dauphinais of Marquette took a shot at the prize, but missed.

Over the years, the Pigs-N-Heat relief fund has donated $350,000 to area fire victims

“We are happy to see after 30 years that the crowd and community continue to support us.” Olson said.

Matt Keiser can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.