If you thought Walker was busy the weekend of January 16th – it wasn’t your imagination. Hundreds of wildland firefighters and their families from across the Midwest descended on Walker for the 5th annual “Wildfire On Ice” hockey tournament (www.wildfireonice.com).
The event is a chance for the wildland firefighting “community” to meet in the off-season to raise funds for a cause that supports firefighters and their families when line of duty injuries and fatalities occur. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation (www.wffoundation.org), based in Boise ID, provides financial support in ways insurance and worker’s compensation cannot. Additionally, the WFF raises funds to memorialize fallen firefighters.
The Wildfire On Ice committee worked with the Walker Area Community Center to sponsor a raffle that raised $7,000! The WACC receives $1,000 of the raffle proceeds. The raffle and other fund raising efforts this year will generate over $8,000 for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. As a thank you for the generosity and hospitality, the Tournament committee decided to award the WACC another $500! Thank you Gretchen Gribbin and Theresa Eklov!
The tournament champs was the MNICS team!
The Tournament committee extends a huge thank you to all the local sponsors and individuals that helped make the event a huge success. The Spencer-Ross Post #134 American Legion hosted the tournament banquet and served up a taco bar that raised over $700 for the Legion and the WF Foundation. Other local sponsors include The Chase on the Lake, Reeds, Walker Home Center, Walker Power Sports, Village Square Pizza, Walker Youth Hockey Assoc., Pepsi Nei Bottling, BSU Beaver Hockey, and Rice Creative Services.
The highlight for kids and families was the “Ice Skate with Smokey Bear”. Thanks to Village Square for providing pizza for the hungry ice skaters.
A special thanks to our friends Byron and Leslie Sagen and Mitch Loomis (Shores of Leech Lake) for being the referee and prepping the ice sheet!
2016 was the third straight year the event was held in Walker. The event is planned for Walker again in January of 2017!