The goalie is a fire chief, and one of the defensemen spends his day fighting crime in Lower Windsor Township.

On offense includes another police officer, this one a sergeant with York Area Regional Police.

With a roster of mainly first responders from York and Lancaster counties, it's much of the same for the ice hockey team that will compete in the York Can-Am Police-Fire Games this summer.

"It's kind of nice getting guys with the same backgrounds together," said David Nichols, the West Manchester Township fire chief who moonlights as a goalie.

On Monday, the team gathered at Regency Ice Rink in Lancaster for its second practice, a scrimmage against players in a league based at the rink.

Officer Ray Krzywulak from York Area Regional, center, joins fellow police officers and firefighters from York and Lancaster to practice in preparation for
Officer Ray Krzywulak from York Area Regional, center, joins fellow police officers and firefighters from York and Lancaster to practice in preparation for the up-coming Can-Am games ice hockey events. (John A. Pavoncello;

Can-Am: When Nichols learned two years ago that York County had won its bid to host the games for emergency responders, he jumped at the chance to organize the team.

"As soon as I heard the Can-Am Games was coming to York, I was like, 'I'm there,'" he said.

The team includes 20 members from the police and fire communities in York and Lancaster counties, as well as Maryland.

The team is in the midst of raising money for jerseys and ice time and hopes to raise $5,000, Nichols said, adding any remaining money will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Far and wide: So far, seven teams, including ones from Winnipeg and Toronto, have signed on to play in the tournament that will be held at the York City Ice Arena, said Pat McKenna, tournament organizer and a retired state police trooper.

That number is expected to increase to between 15 to 20, said McKenna, assistant hockey coach at Millersville University in Lancaster County.

Nichols said some alumni players of the Philadelphia Flyers are expected to make appearances during the tournament.

The Can-Am Games are held every two years and are open to current and retired law enforcement, fire and EMS officials and their spouses.

The York games will run July 13-20 and feature more than 50 sporting events, including traditional athletic competitions, such as softball and golf, as well as profession-specific events such as SWAT and toughest firefighter alive. Events will be held in York, Lancaster and Dauphin counties.

Return to the game: For some of the hockey team's players, the ice time they saw at a practice in March was their first in years.

Ed McLaughlin, a sergeant with Lancaster City Police, said he hadn't played in eight years. When he pulled his hockey bag from his garage, he had to deal with a problem some lapsed hockey players face. A mouse somehow got into the bag and, at some point, made a home in one of his skates.

Sgt. Peter Montgomery of York Area Regional Police said he, too, hadn't played for a long time — six years for him — but the rust quickly wore off.

With a few minutes left in the scrimmage, Montgomery caught up to the puck for a breakaway and beat the goalie with a sharp shot glove side.

Montgomery is one of a few officers from the department on the team.

John Vitko, an officer with Lower Windsor Township Police who has been playing for 10 years, said he was surprised so many firefighters and police officers in the area play the game.

"It's just a matter of getting to know everyone's playing style," he said. "The rest is hockey, and that doesn't change."

— Reach Greg Gross at