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Cambridge Ice Hounds face off with WRPS officers in annual matchup

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An annual matchup pitted two "rival teams" against each other at the Galt Arena Gardens.

Members of the Waterloo Regional Police service laced up their skates Saturday to take on the Cambridge Ice Hounds in a series of exhibition games.

The program has been running since 2006 and has over 75 players, with some athletes as young as five years old.

"Every athlete out here, every youth or adult has either a physical or cognitive disability," said Cam Linwood, head coach of the Ice Hounds. "We have athletes who are in wheelchairs." 

Organizers say the matchup with WRPS has been circled on their calendar since last year's game.

"We've got such a great relationship with the Waterloo Regional Police Service, we've been out here since 2014," said Linwood. "It's a chance for them to make connections on the ice with some new faces, but also rebuild some connections with some of the officers they've seen for a number of years now.

"It's really creating a comradery, that friendship."

The WRPS "Blue Crew" has a 10-year partnership with the Ice Hounds to promote better inclusion through hockey.

"Coming out, getting out of their comfort zone, so when we see them in the community, it's just another athlete to athlete," said Detective Const. Mike Payne with WRPS. "At the end of the day we're hockey players and so are they."

Michael Nadeau has played for the Ice Hounds for three seasons.

"Before we found this proram, the idea of putting Michael into a minor hockey program wasn't a possibility," said Jason Nadeau, Michael's Dad. "When the opportunity came up, it was a chance to give him what he seemed to want, to be apart of a team, to play hockey."

Michael says the best part of being on the team are the great experiences that come with it.

"I show a positive attitude, I always show some of the best respect on the team, and I've always shown some really special skills," said Michael.

Over 150 players have laced up for the Ice Hounds in their 18 seasons in Cambridge.

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