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Cops, firefighters to duke it out at charity hockey game

DULUTH - Metro Atlanta police officers and firefighters will face off against North Carolina Law Enforcement on Sunday in a charity hockey game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

A $16 ticket will also buy you admission to the playoff-bound Gladiators game versus the South Carolina Stingrays at 4:05 p.m., which precedes the "Battle of the Badges" game. In addition, a public safety event at 2:30 p.m. features pregame demonstrations by police, fire and public safety personnel with their equipment.

Parents can have children fingerprinted, and young ones will be entertained by a fire safety house, K-9 unit, fire engines, police vehicles, S.W.A.T. team equipment and helicopters.

This is the second year that Battle of the Badges has descended upon the Arena. Organizers hope to raise more than $7,000 for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Camp Braveheart. Camp Braveheart in Rutledge is special place where children and teens affected by heart disease can gather without fear of medical procedures or worries about being different from their peers.

The hockey game will be played in memory of Cody Otts, the 11⁄2 year-old son of Special Deputy U.S. Marshal Kevin Otts who died May 5, 2005. Kevin Otts has played on the Metro Atlanta Police/Fire Hockey Team since it was organized several years ago.

Just 12 hours after Cody was born at Rockdale Hospital in October 2003, he was transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston with multiple heart defects.

"They would get him well with some treatments or some surgeries and he would be well for a little bit," recalled Gwinnett Firefighter/EMT Philip Wood, who plays alongside Otts on the team.

"They would try and send him home but then something would creep back in and knock them back two steps. It's really been hard on Kevin and Missy."

Since Cody's death, the team is even more committed to raising money for children with heart problems, Wood said.

Those interested in purchasing tickets can buy them online at http://www.gwinnettgladiators.com/gwinnett/tickets/police-fire.asp or call 404-625-1217 during daytime hours and 404-925-5016 during evening hours.