Marquette, MI – March 13, 2019 – After 3 20 minute action packed periods on the Lakeview Arena Ice Rink tonight, the Pigs took back their crown as champions of the annual Pigs-N-Heat Charity Hockey Game. Last year the Heat claimed the mantle forcing the Pigs into their first loss since 2015. Both teams played a hard fought game tonight as the community gathered at Lakeview Arena to support the Marquette County’s Fire Relief Fund.
This annual event raises money to help people who lost their homes in fa fire. The fund covers hotel costs, groceries, and helps people get back on their feet. Starting for the first time 36 years ago this yearly game now brings between 2,500 and 3,000 people back each year to raise approximately $15,000 to $20,000 for the fund.
Tonight’s events started with an open ceremony where several members of our community received recognition. State Trooper Stacey Rasanen received a plaque as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The Firefighter of the Year Award went to Dale Rogers. Wealth Strategy Group presented a check for $5,000 and the American Legion Post #44 State Champion Hockey Team was introduced. To continue the ceremony, Superior Pipes played on the ice before Sandy Knoll Music Class kids sang the National Anthem.
Without further delay, Marquette Police Officer Rob Hansen, Fire Chief Ian Davis, and Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli took the ice for the ceremonial puck drop before turning the ice over to our first responders. After the face off it didn’t take long for the Pigs to put themselves on the board. Just 3 minutes into the game the Pigs scored their first goal on Heat goalie Keith Swenor. Only minutes later, the Heat returned the shot putting the teams 1 to 1. As the first period went on the Pigs put two more in the net ending the first 20 minutes 3-1.
6 minutes into the second period the Pigs and Heat met for a face off left of the Heat’s net. On the break, the Pigs immediately sunk the puck putting them further ahead 4-1. As the clock ticked down the Heats snuck another one past Pigs goalie, Mike Roth to end the period 4-2.
Breaking between periods, three more local hockey teams got some recognition. The State Champion Marquette Girls Hockey Team, Superior Hockey State Champions, and Marquette Junior Hockey White Mites all received a round of applause from the crowd before one of the best parts of the night – Chuck-A-Puck! Walt gave the queue and hundreds of pucks went flying toward center ice from all around the arena, each person hoping to win $914 up for grabs!
After 40 minutes of the game already over, both teams game into the final period of the game with some “fire” under them. The puck was shooting back and forth from one end zone to the other and the scoreboard kept rising for both sides, but in the end, the Heat still trailed, ending the game 7-4 in favor of the Pigs.
Congratulations to the Pigs on winning the 2019 Pigs-N-Heat Charity Hockey Game. This year’s MVP Award went to Drew Ogle from the Marquette Branch Prison and the Gordon Balbierz Memorial Unsung Hero Award went to Jeff Haile.
Thank you to all of the participating departments
Playing for the Pigs: The Marquette Police Department, Michigan State Police, Marquette Branch Prison, Marquette County Sheriff Department, Ishpeming Police Department, Northern Michigan University Public Safety, and the Negaunee Police Department.
Playing for the Heat: The Marquette City Fire Department, Marquette Township Fire Department, Chocolay Township Fire Department, Skandia Township Fire Department, Richmond Township Fire Department, Negaunee City Fire Department, Ishpeming City Fire Department, Champion Township Fire Department, Ishpeming Township Fire Department, Negaunee Township Fire Department, and SKWB and the Department of Natural Resources.
If you didn’t make it out and want to donate, or just want to give even more, visit the Pigs-N-Heat website to donate to the fund. You can also follow their Pigs-N-Heat Fire Relief Fund Facebook Page for the most recent news and updates.
Big thanks to all of the 2019 Sponsors who helped make this event possible for the 36th year.