Special Dayton Fire Hockey team jersey honors Clark County deputy

The Dayton Fire Hockey team won’t be wearing its traditional red, black and white jerseys on Saturday for the inaugural Deputy Matthew Yates Memorial Classic at the NTPRD Chiller in Springfield.

Instead, the team will unveil a special jersey that will honor Yates, a Clark County Sheriff’s deputy killed July 24 in the line of duty, for the charity hockey game between the Dayton Fire Hockey team and the FOP 109 Warthogs from Wood County. Puck drop is at 4:45 p.m. at the ice rink, 301 W. Main St.

“Although our team name is Dayton Fire and we play under Dayton FireFighter’s Hockey, we’ve always been a team comprised of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and members of the military. The police jersey we are wearing Saturday isn’t about the Dayton Fire Hockey Team, it’s about brotherhood, camaraderie and honoring the ultimate sacrifice that Deputy Yates made” said Patrick Holland, team captain.

The new jerseys are black with a blue team crest on the chest and a subliminal blue line flag embedded in the background of the body of the jersey and the sleeves. Clark County Sheriff’s Office patches remembering Yates are incorporated into the shoulders along with a badge over the heart. Sewn into the neckline are the numbers “12-60″ — 12 is the Ohio county designation for Clark County and 60 represents Yates’ badge number, according to the team.

“Cops and firefighters always have a playful banter, we all know the civil service test is hard and cops would trade their cruisers in for recliners any day, but when it comes down to it, there is no stronger bond than between the blue and red line,” Holland said.

Proceeds from Saturday’s game will go to the Deputy Matthew Yates Memorial Scholarship Fund established at Clark State College to benefit graduating high school seniors who wish to pursuit careers in public safety, particularly law enforcement.

The jerseys will not be available to the public. However, one will be available through an online auction starting Friday at www.hockeyhelpingheroes.org to raise funds for the scholarship, said Don Zender, director of the First Responder Face-Off Foundation who is helping to coordinate Saturday’s game.

“It’s been great working with both teams, the venue and the local Springfield community to bring what was the concept of a game just six weeks ago to reality this weekend,” Zender said. “The commemorative jerseys are a really great way to help continue Matt’s legacy.”

For more information visit www.hockeyhelpingheroes.org.

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