Charity hockey game raises funds for Riding for Ryan

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – Current and former professional hockey players put on their skates on Saturday for a charity game hosted by the Cascade Firefighters Association.

The money collected during the game will benefit Grand Rapids Gilda Club and Riding for Ryan, a non-profit organization that raises awareness of bicycle safety.

“We want to make it an annual thing,” said Luke McCarthy, a firefighter with the Cascade Fire Department and former professional hockey player who helped organize the event. “This is the first time that we are doing this. The idea was pitched about what we could do to fundraise and help support. “

Riding for Ryan is a charity close to the Cascade Firefighters Association. It is named after Ryan Marsman, the son of Andy Marsman, a firefighter with the Cascade Fire Department.

Andy Marsman and his wife Stacie created the association organization after the death of their 6-year-old son after having hit by a car cycling in 2019.

“It’s amazing,” said Andy Marsman. “They have been our support system since the day of the accident. Really our family. They stay with us and we work together. It’s huge, just a continuation of the mission with our family.

The goal of the Marsman family is to raise awareness of bicycle safety by distributing free flags to children so they can put them on their bikes.

“When they’re on their bikes, they’re sitting so close to the ground,” Stacie Marsman said. “Our goal is to distribute flags to as many children as possible to increase that visibility so that they can see them as they move around when vehicles are nearby. We don’t want what happened to Ryan to happen to another child.

Riding for Ryan distributed approximately 7,000 flags. The organization’s mission inspired former professional hockey player Easton Oliver to come from New York to play in the game.

“Such an important thing,” Oliver said. “You hear the story behind everything that has happened, you do all you can to support a good cause. The people here are great people.

Riding for Ryan has provided flags for children in more than a handful of states and in Canada.

For more information on where you can pick one up, visit

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Catherine J. Martinez