AUBURN — Hockey might seem like an odd choice for a warm summer night, but dozens packed the Norway Savings Bank Arena on Friday to honor a Somerset County Sheriff’s corporal slain in the spring.
“This is a fun way to memorialize a sad event,” former Lewiston police Lt. Tom Avery said.
The Friday night face-off was organized as a fundraiser and a tribute to the family of Cpl. Eugene Cole, a 13-year police veteran who was shot and killed April 25 in Norridgewock.
“I think it’s just amazing that the whole community came out for this family,” said Kelie Routhier, watching the game with her 11-year-old son. “It’s not just Somerset County, it’s the whole state of Maine involved. That’s what I like about it.”
On the ice were teams made up of Lewiston police officers on one side, Air National Guard members on the other. It was serious hockey, but the tone of the event was set in the beginning as Cole’s son David dropped the puck to start the game.
Also in attendance for the event were representatives from the Maine Warden Service and Marine Patrol, two of several agencies involved in the search for Cole’s killer in the days following the shooting.
The game was hosted by the Patriots Hockey Association, a nonprofit group run by past and current fire, police, medical and military personnel, and supporters of those organizations.
Avery, a member of the PHA, said as soon as the organization approached the arena owners about possibly hosting an event, things happened fast.
“They bent over backward to make this happen,” Avery said.
Money raised was to be given to the Cpl. Eugene Cole Scholarship Fund.
Cpl. Eugene Cole’s picture appears on the outside the Lewiston Police Department’s locker room where officer Jim Avery and his 6-year-old son, Maverick, get ready for the fundraising hockey game at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn on Friday evening. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Lewiston Police officers Charlie Weaver, left, and Tyler Michaud look at the new hockey jerseys that the Lewiston Police Department hockey team wore during the hockey game that honored Cpl. Eugene Cole at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn on Friday evening. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)