TOMS RIVER – The stands and upper deck were packed at Winding River Ice Rink as onlookers and supporters turned up to watch some “bad hockey.”
Officers from Toms River Police faced off against Camden County Police, with Toms River winning 8-5, including earning the first point within 10 seconds of the game start.
But it was for a good cause, as $21,000 was raised to help the family of an injured police officer, Brett Hansen, who was critically injured in an off-duty car accident January 4, and whose family has faced medical bills of their own.
The event featured color guard, bagpipers, special speeches from police and local officials, a game for the whole family, activities for the children and more, such as an after-party event at Charlies for a $5 donation featuring live bands.
The game showed the power of people coming together, and how important that sense of community is in Toms River, officials said.
“This was a tremendous effort with Camden and Toms River coming together to support our injured officer,” said Mayor Tom Kelaher, reporting on the event’s success in his comments at the February 21 council meeting. “Kudos to the chief and all the organizers.”
Camden County Police suggested the event, as Hansen once worked with that department before coming to Toms River. Organizers from the Toms River Police, its PBA, and Winding River helped plan the event, which packed the municipal ice rink.
The event drew supporters from Toms River, where Hansen served and Brick, where he lives, but also from far and wide. “There were officers there from all over, Seaside Heights, Manchester, Atlantic City, all over,” said Councilman Jeffrey Carr.
The next fundraiser for Team Hansen is in cooperation with TD Bank.
TD Bank, at seven area branches, will be accepting donations to assist Hansen. Desiree Martins, the manager of the Point Pleasant branch, said the donation event, part of TD Bank’s “Bring Change” program, will run from February 27 through March 3.
Participating branches include:
In Toms River, 1101 Hooper Ave., 849 Fischer Blvd., 2338 Lakewood Road, and 10 Mule Road.
Also: 4000 Route 37 East in Seaside Heights, 2292 Hooper Ave. in Brick and 3301 Bridge Ave. in Point Pleasant.
For more information on that fundraiser, visit tdbringchange.com/state/new-jersey/5814.