The turnout and success of the Inspector Tony Perry Memorial Hockey Game made it clear that Tony’s memory is well-alive in the Antigonish area, and beyond.
On Oct. 29, almost exactly one year after the death of the well-known, well-loved and well-respected police officer, more than 400 people joined together at the Antigonish Arena to remember a special man and raise money for an important cause.
In a playful but earnest hockey game, a team comprised of paramedics, social workers and firefighters faced off against a team of Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
To quote the song that played, as the Mounties accepted their trophy, ‘the law won.’
The real victory, however, was the opportunity for Tony’s friends, family and colleagues to come together from across the country for an event that celebrated and continued his goal of building stronger communities.
With representatives from all first-responding units in Antigonish town and county onsite, the event provided visibility for people who are committed to ensuring safety and support in times of crisis, despite the obvious personal toll these jobs can take.
While the day was an emotional one for the Perry family, his daughter Melanie was pleased with what the hockey game was able to accomplish.
“It felt good to have all those people there, hearing stories about Dad and accepting hugs,” she said.
Thanks to donations, a silent auction, 50/50 ticket sales and assistance from local businesses who offered in-kind support, the Perry Memorial Hockey Game was able to donate $12,000 to Helping the Helpers, a local organization that provides financial assistance to first-responders in the Antigonish area who are unable to work as a result of duty-related stress.
When Perry died unexpectedly, on Oct. 28, 2016, he reminded us that even people with strong and stable exteriors may hide unbearable, invisible pain.
“Throughout his nearly 30 years of service to the RCMP, Tony proved himself as a dedicated and skilled police officer who loved to share insights from his experiences,” a release regarding the game read.
“With no way of every bringing back this truly remarkable man, we hope that this event helped to continue his legacy of teaching and community stewardship.”