Annual Battles on Ice®
The Annual Battles on Ice® were established in 2011 by the Russian American Foundation in partnership with Hockey Club Legends of USSR as friendship hockey matches between the teams of the New York Fire Department Firefighters and Russia’s EMERCOM Firefighters. The Battles on Ice® serve as an important reminder of the sacrifices all first responders make to safeguard the lives of citizens and to commemorate the unfortunate victims of terrorist acts in New York and Moscow. The location of Battles on Ice® alternates each year between New York City and Moscow, reinforcing a valuable dialogue in the US and Russia’s joint stand against terrorist acts.
“Battles on Ice® celebrate all those who put their lives on the line for others and they demonstrate the solidarity of the American and Russian people against terrorism. We at FDNY are honored for this opportunity to represent not only our city, which is home to the largest Russian-speaking community in the country, but our nation as well”, said Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano of New York Fire Department.
“These events stand for the consistency of our traditions and underline the importance of cooperation not only on a professional, but also on a personal level. This match signifies more than a sports event. It is, above all, a meeting of good friends, colleagues and like-minded people,” said Vladimir Puchkov, Russian Minister for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM).
During Battles on Ice®, New York Fire Department and Russia’s EMERCOM firefighters have been joined on the ice by NHL Alumni, including Ron Duguay, Mark Janssens, Chris Kotsopulos, Steve Vickers, Ed Hospador, Dan Blackburn, and Paul Stewart, as well as Russian Legends of Hockey, including Viacheslav Fetisov, Pavel Bure, Alexei Kasatonov, Valeri Kamensky, Alexei Yashin, Sergey Makarov, and Andrei Kovalenko.
The winning team from Battles on Ice® takes home the Heritage Cup, which was designed and donated in support of the project by internationally acclaimed artist Zurab Tsereteli, President of the Russian Academy of Arts, Founder and Director of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
In 2013, special guests from Boston Fire Department’s Hockey team played side by side with FDNY and EMERCOM firefighters against the Legends of Hockey team. Partial proceeds from the New York City games are donated to the UFA Widows’ and Children’s Fund.