UBS Arena Hosts 48th Annual FDNY vs. NYPD Hockey Game

On Saturday April 30, the UBS Arena hosted the 48and FDNY vs. NYPD Ice Hockey Heroes game. Each year, the New York City Fire Department Hockey Team and the New York City Police Department Hockey Club play against each other. It’s a huge game among the departments that has a sold-out crowd almost all year. It is said that both teams don’t care as much about their season’s record as they do about the outcome of this one game.

Sold out crowd

This was the first time UBS Arena hosted the FDNY vs NYPD game and it did not disappoint. The game was sold out, so the UBS Arena was packed with people. It was nearly impossible to maneuver in the lower hall as everyone was shoulder to shoulder. The arena didn’t even look that full for most of the Islanders’ matches.

The atmosphere inside the UBS Arena was electric. The only comparison would be if the Islanders faced the Rangers in a playoff series. Everyone in attendance at the FDNY vs NYPD game also received rally towels, which added to the energy.

UBS Arena had over 17,000 in attendance for the FDNY vs NYPD hockey game (Photo courtesy of Maisy Healy/Drive4Five).

Pre-match ceremony

Prior to the game, there was a ceremony to thank everyone who made the game possible and to honor deceased members of the FDNY and NYPD. UBS Arena recognized members of the FDNY and NYPD who lost their lives to COVID-19, the line of duty, and 9/11-related illnesses.

There were also seven heroes who had a special tribute as they had recently lost their lives on duty: Policeman Anastasios Tsakos, Policeman Jason Rivera, Policeman Wilbert Mora, Firefighter Vincent Malveaux, FDNY Lt. Joseph Maiello, firefighter Jesse Gerhard and the fireman. Timothy Klein.

To conclude the ceremony, the families of Constable Rivera, Constable Mora and Firefighter Gerhard were all brought onto the ice for a ceremonial puck drop.

The FDNY vs NYPD hockey game is a charity event that raises money to help families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty (Photo courtesy of @NYRangers on Twitter).

Game recap

Although the first half of the game was scoreless, it was certainly entertaining. Both teams generated a lot of quality shots on goal and had a power play. The rivalry of the FDNY and NYPD teams is like the Islanders and the Rangers. Players were kicking each other hard and battling through all three periods. It pissed off the crowd and, in my opinion, made the atmosphere better than any Islanders game at UBS Arena during the 2021-22 NHL season.

Both teams entered the scoresheet in the second period. Less than four minutes into the period, the FDNY returned the puck to the neutral zone, leading to a two-on-one for the NYPD. The NYPD took the opportunity and scored 3:24 into the period.

In such a low-scoring game, the FDNY was eager for a goal so they could at least enter the third period tied. With 53 seconds remaining, the police department was penalized for holding back. The FDNY was finally able to get on the scoreboard with a power-play goal with less than 30 seconds remaining in the frame.

The third period consisted of a refuse goal for each team. The NYPD scored one at 9:14 but it was called off because the puck was thrown into the net. The FDNY then put the puck in the net at 15:40, but it was immediately discarded due to goalie interference. The third period ended the same way it started – tied at one.

Just like an NHL playoff game, a tie calls for a 20-minute overtime. Less than three minutes later, the NYPD returned the puck to the FDNY defensive zone. The fire department then busted the puck out and scored the game winner 2:31 into overtime. The crowd went wild – you would have thought the FDNY had just won a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The FDNY won the game for the second year in a row. The final score was 2-1 (Photo courtesy of @NY_Islanders on Instagram).

Intermission tribute videos

Although the FDNY vs NYPD hockey game was able to air on YouTube, some things did not air. During both intermissions, a beautiful tribute video was shown for two fallen firefighters.

During the first intermission, a video was played for firefighter Timothy Klein. Klein died April 24 while responding to a three-alarm fire in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Klein was the second member of Ladder Company 170 killed in the line of duty in just over three years.

During the second intermission, firefighter Jesse Gerhard was also honored with a video. FF Gerhard was a member of Ladder Company 134 in Far Rockaway. He died at his fire station a day after responding to a two-alarm house fire.

Friends and colleagues of firefighters Klein and Gerhard had nothing but amazing things to say about them. They both lost their lives saving others.

On behalf of Drive4Five, we thank the members of the FDNY and NYPD for their acts of selflessness and bravery.

Catherine J. Martinez