After a three-year pandemic-induced hiatus, Delta’s Battle of the Badges returns to Sungod Arena next week.
The annual hockey game, played between Delta Fire & Emergency Services and the Delta Police Department on Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 22), aims to shine a spotlight on the need to stand together in support of anti-bullying.
With one in five students affected by bullying, Pink Shirt Day is an important reminder to be kind and lift each other up, and to speak up for those who don’t have a voice, according to a news release.
Through the Battle of the Badges hockey game, Delta’s police and fire departments hope to promote the importance of standing together against bullying and demonstrate that “although we may look different or fulfill different roles, it doesn’t mean one is better than the other.”
Noting the power of celebrating our differences and being united in our diversity, both departments hope to inspire students to practice kindness and compassion always.
“Most of us have felt bullied at least once in our lives. Battle of the Badges provides an opportunity for us to talk to kids about bullying. It raises awareness of what bullying is, the negative impacts it has on the victim as well as the bully, and strategies to prevent or deal with bullying,” Delta Fire Chief Guy McKintuck said in a press release.
“We must lift each other up, celebrate our differences and practice kindness as part of our shared responsibility to build a safe and healthy community on Pink Shirt Day and all other days,” DPD Chief Neil Dubord said in a press release. “I look forward to the 2023 Battle of the Badges as we celebrate the power of acceptance, kindness, and inclusion with our friends and partners.”
The Battle of the Badges is a collaboration between Delta Fire & Emergency Services, the Delta Police Department, the City of Delta and the Delta School District, and around 1,900 Grade 4-7 students from the Delta School District and Tsawwassen First Nation will fill the stands next Wednesday to watch the game.
Students will arrive between 9:30 and 10 a.m. as the teams warm up, and the puck will drop at 10:25 a.m. The game will consist of two 20-minute periods with an intermission in between.
Joining in the fun will be local mascots including Safety Bear (Delta Police Department), Flash the Fire Dog (Delta Fire & Emergency Services), Jack the Giant (Vancouver Giants) and Del the Hawk (Delta Ice Hawks).
“We’re thrilled that Battle of the Badges is able to resume this year. The event provides a great opportunity to build community spirit and camaraderie,” Delta school board chair Val Windsor said in a press release. “It’s great for students to see our local heroes stand together to encourage kindness, empathy and understanding, and most importantly, to offer support to those who are being bullied.”
Mayor George Harvie said in a statement that he is pleased the city is once again co-hosting the event alongside the school district and fire and police departments “to show our collective support for creating safe, respectful, and inclusive environments where bullying is not tolerated.”
“Together, let’s continue to lift each other up and strengthen our community through kindness today and everyday. May the best team win!”