PLYMOUTH, Mich. – The Plymouth Whalers will open the 2013 preseason on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. against Windsor at Eddie Edgar Ice Arena in Livonia.
A heartfelt and inspiring back story will take center stage in a big way. One hundred percent of the proceeds generated in the game benefit the Livonia Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Larry Nehasil Park in Livonia.
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"We're very excited here, not only with the (Livonia) police department, but the fire department and the entire city organization," said Livonia Police Chief Curtis Caid. "We really appreciate the support of the Plymouth Whalers and their organization in bringing the game to Eddie Edgar Arena for our benefit. We're truly honored that the Whalers and the Spitfires are willing to play a game here in Livonia and for this cause."
The Larry Nehasil Park and the Livonia Fallen Heroes Memorial were created as a memorial to the service of late police officers Larry Nehasil, Ervin Johnston, James Kelley and Sidney Dethloff and fireman Gary Kreski. Ground breaking for the project happened on July 17, with the anticipated completion sometime during the summer of 2014.
Fans attending the game will have a direct effect on the completion of the project, while Livonia businesses are also stepping up to support the game. Livonia Dermatology – located on Farmington Road across from the Livonia Police station – is the presenting sponsor for the game.
"The game between the Whalers and Spitfires is going to stimulate growth for the park and the monument – all through donations," said Caid. "No city or taxpayer funds will be used. An event like this game is critical for the success of the park."
"Livonia is in close proximity to Windsor, so we're excited to have Spitfire fans in Livonia cheering for their team."
Although Eddie Edgar Arena has a long history of hosting high school hockey and is the home of the Livonia Hockey Association, the Plymouth-Windsor preseason game is the first Ontario Hockey League game for the facility.
"We're very excited about this game," said Justin Feldman, Eddie Edgar Ice Arena manager. "It's a great opportunity for Nehasil Park and the Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund. When we were approached to host the game, we were very excited to get on board to hopefully help them out. We anticipate a good turnout and that the game will be a success."
The Whalers will participate in a meet-and-greet for fans after the game and there will be raffles for prizes before and during the game.
This season is the fifth year Plymouth has opened the pre-season schedule in a local rink. The Whalers played in Brighton in 2009, Chelsea in 2010, Farmington in 2011 and Wyandotte last year.
Eddie Edgar Arena is located at 33841 Lyndon in Livonia. Tickets for the game go on sale today and run $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Livonia Police Department (734-466-2470), Compuware Arena (734-453-8400), Eddie Edgar Ice Arena (734-427-1280), Livonia Chamber of Commerce (734-427-2122) and the Livonia Community Recreation Center (734-466-2900).