The 24th Annual “Battle of the Bravest” Charity Cup Hockey Game to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley was a very special event this year.
This year’s “Battle of the Bravest” also benefited the family of deceased White Plains Firefighter Lt. Clarke Douglass, who passed away from 9/11 related cancer on July 21, 2018. Douglass was a member of the WPFD for 32 years and a longtime supporter of the “Battle of the Bravest.”
Douglass played alongside his firefighter brethren in at least 20 Charity Cup Hockey games, before his passing last year. Lt. Douglass was surely one of the Bravest. Douglass’s number four hockey jersey hung in the Ebersole lobby in tribute to him during the event on Saturday.
Another exciting feature to this year’s “Battle of the Bravest” was the return of the White Plains Police Department Finest Hockey Team challenging the WPFD Bravest. It had been 15 years since the two City of White Plains public safety departments met on the ice at Ebersole. For the past many years the WPFD would play a compiled team of Westchester County Firefighters in the Charity Cup event.
White Plains Police Detective Matt Kittelstad is the Team Captain of the WPPD Finest. He has served the community for 20 years on the WPPD. “It felt really good to participate this year. The turnout was great with great fans. It was a success bringing it back and hopefully we can keep it going like we used to,” said Kittelstad.
The “Battle of the Bravest” is organized by Local 274 of the International Association of Firefighters. This year’s event was spearheaded by Firefighters Jake Douglass and Connor Dillon, who both have served with WPFD for five years.
Jake Douglass is the nephew of the late Lt. Clarke Douglas. “My uncle was a big part of this game. I am just lucky enough to join it and keep the tradition alive,” commented the younger Douglass, who scored three goals in the game. Chris Flynn also scored two goals for the Bravest.
The Douglass Family was in full force at the event. Clarke’s brother, Johnny is the Coach and his brother Rob is a forward, who honored his late brother by scoring a goal in the game for the Bravest. Also Jake’s brother, Mike is the Goalie for the Bravest. Also joining the tribute to Clarke was Jake’s and Mike’s grandparents John and Pat Douglass, among other members of the Douglass Family.
With the White Plains Firefighters and Police playing each other for the first time in 15 years, of course, David Chong, City of White Plains Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety and City of White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach were in attendance at the event.
“I am rooting for no injuries,” commented City of White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach with a smile regarding his rooting interest. “The Policemen and Firemen serve all of us every day. They are doing this for a great cause and we are all here having a good time,” said the Mayor.
“I am rooting for both teams. I want both teams to win,” said Chong, who oversees both the WPFD and WPPD, as the City of White Plains Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety “There are no losers here. The winner is Ronald McDonald House, which these guys put their heart and soul into supporting,” acknowledged Chong.
The winner of the “Battle of the Bravest” each year for 24 years has certainly been Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley and this year also Lt. Clarke Douglass’s Family. The scorekeeper even stopped keeping score with the WPFD in the lead 10-5. Former WPHS hockey superstar James Carrier had four goals for the WPFD Finest.
The proceeds from the sale of Admission, Programs, “Battle of the Bravest” T-shirts, the Raffle, 50/50 and Chuck-A-Puck totaled about $16,000 this year, while contributions from advertisements in the “Battle of the Bravest” Programs are to be tallied at a later date. All proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House and the family of Clarke Douglass.
“I think this event is amazing. It shows they care and believe in our mission. We really appreciate it and look forward to it every year,” said Christina Riley, Executive Director Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley.