History of the Heroes Game
In the late 1990’s at Cricket Arena, the CFD and CMPD teams joined to play a broom ball game during the intermission of Charlotte Checkers games. CMPD Officer, Mark Faulkenberry had an idea and contacted CFD Fireman, Wendell Jolly and they started the process of organizing a hockey team from each organization.
CMPD Officer Faulkenberry put out an all-points bulletin throughout the organization looking for any CMPD members who wanted to have a little fun playing hockey against local firemen. Officers Todd Blum, Mark Balmas, Rich Korenich, Rich Tonsberg and many others responded to the call.
CFD Fireman Jolly, sounded the fire alarm throughout the department and many responded with interest of joining the CFD hockey team. Firemen Tripp Fincher, Kenny Inman, Jeff Stevenson, and Jeff Leclair were the original five players. Many other CFD members joined in and a public safety game was started. In the early years the game benefited the CFD Burned Children’s Fund and the Burnett – Nobles fund. After September 11, 2001 the game was renamed the “911 Cup” with proceeds still benefiting many public safety charitable programs.
After about 6 years the teams had taken a break from the game. Additionally, the Charlotte Checkers were leaving Cricket Arena and heading to the new Uptown arena. In late 2005 the Charlotte Checkers approached Captain Rob Brisley about re-instituting the game. Captain Brisley introduced the Charlotte Checkers staff with CFD Captain Tripp Fincher and CMPD Sergeant Todd Blum. Thus, the game was reborn as the “Salute to Heroes Game”. Additionally, the CFD decided to join forces with MEDIC and CMPD joined forces with MCSO to field their teams. The game now benefits families of local public safety members that are injured or fallen in the line of duty. The game has grown exponentially over the years and has garnered support and attention of public safety organizations and charitable organizations around the state of North Carolina.