Firefighters prevail in 'Battle of Badges'

Recovering fire official drops puck to start hockey game

Police, firefighters face off on ice

READING, Pa. - Reading firefighters earned bragging rights by topping the city police, 3-2, in the seventh annual "Battle of the Badges" ice hockey game at the Sovereign Center on Sunday.

The firefighters jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period and held off a late rally by the police to claim their 3-2 victory.

The money raised goes toward the Battle of the Badges Scholarship Fund, which benefits children of police and firemen.

"This is the seventh year of it now," Reading firefighter Stu Basner said. "It's just a fund to help police and firefighters with tuition for colleges and different things."

The game began with one of the fire department's deputy chiefs, Ron Wentzel, being escorted onto the ice for the ceremonial puck drop.

Wentzel has had to step away from fighting fires in recent weeks to wage a personal battle. He was recently diagnosed as having a cancerous brain tumor and underwent surgery on Feb. 16 to remove part of it.

Wentzel continues to undergo treatment and rehabilitation, but not without the support of his friends and fellow firefighters, who affectionately call him "Moose."

The firefighter team presented Wentzel and his family with jerseys, a hockey stick and a helmet at the Sovereign Center on Sunday.

The firefighters have also established a special web page that provides information and updates about Wentzel's medical progress, pictures, and personal messages of support.

The firefighters are also selling "Moose" helmet stickers and t-shirts to raise money for Wentzel's family as he continues his recovery.

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Allentown, PA 18102





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