Red and blue may not be Christmas colors, but the two will face off in the spirit of the season to raise funds for the family of fallen West Bloomfield Police Department Officer Patrick O'Rourke.
The Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association and the Joe Kocur Foundation for Children will hit the ice at Compuware Arena in Plymouth Dec. 21 to play a charity hockey game, the proceeds of which will be donated to the O'Rourke Family Trust.
O'Rourke, 39, was fatally shot Sept. 9 while responding with other officers to what police believed could have been a suicidal man. The incident sparked a barricaded gunman standoff that ended when police found the suspect, Ricky Coley, 50, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
O'Rourke was the department's first officer killed in the line of duty. He was soon promoted to Sergeant by the Township Board of Trustees.
Kocur, 47, a resident of Highland, said that the news hit close to home. "The Alumni Association does a lot of work to benefit the public service industry and I have a good friends there. (O'Rourke) is basically the friend of a friend and when that happens, you just want to make calls and find out how you can help."
According to organizers, a roster of former Red Wings are expected to play: Dino Ciccarelli, Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer, Kocur, Igor Larionov, Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby, Larry Murphy and Chris Osgood among them.
Singer Karen Newman is scheduled to start off the evening with "The Star Spangled Banner."
Kocur serves as the President of the Alumni Association, which was founded in 1959. He said that membership is so excited to take part, he actually had to turn some away from participating in the game.
"When we do get on the ice and line up for the faceoff, sometimes your mind goes back to game four (of the 1997 NHL Stanley Cup Finals) against Philadelphia. Especially being in the in the locker room, remembering things you were talking about 15 years ago," he said.
"But this time, we're more excited for anything to help out this great cause."
If you go
The puck will be dropped at 7:15 p.m. Dec. 21 at Compuware Arena, 14900 Beck Rd., Plymouth. General admission is $20. During the event, guests may enter a raffle to win player jerseys worn during the game. All proceeds will go to the Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust.
Tickets are still available at joekocurhockey.eventbrite.com or at the West Bloomfield, White Lake, Milford, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Plymouth or Grosse Pointe police departments.