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In memory of 'Big Mike': Superior YMCA, police host floor hockey game for kids

The Superior Douglas County Family YMCA and Superior Police Department are teaming up to host a floor hockey game in honor of "Big Mike" Almond.

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Superior Police Captain John Kiel (center, in hat) drops the puck as members of the Superior Police Department play floor hockey with kids at the Superior YMCA on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Children can put their floor hockey skills to the test against members of the Superior Police Department during a free event from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at the Superior Douglas County Family YMCA.

In addition to getting some exercise, participants can enjoy Subway sandwiches and check out a police squad car. The friendly competition is being held in memory of “Big Mike” Almond, a local leader who died in May 2021.

“What I want them to know in Superior is he tried to connect the community,” John Staine said of “Big Mike” Almond.

“Mike was a really great human being. He was active in the community and supported the police,” said Assistant Police Chief John Kiel. “Mike used his status as a community leader to promote a good relationship with the police and people of color.”

Saturday’s event is a continuation of the work Almond started. The Superior man set up a basketball game, police versus children, at the YMCA to help bring the groups together. Not many participants turned out for basketball, but organizers didn’t give up.

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Mike Almond, center, talks with Jon Reimer, left, and Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander during a community floor hockey event at the Superior Douglas County YMCA in February 2020.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“The following year, we decided a floor hockey game might be better,” Kiel said. “We had more officers and more children show up.”

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The games became a popular annual event.

“We had officers showing up on their time off, as well as officers on duty. The number of children playing increased every year. The games were not competitive, just a lot of fun,” Kiel said.

The pandemic shuttered the event, but the police department and YMCA teamed up to bring it back.

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Superior police officer Matt Swanson, left, knocks the puck away from Cadence Dillon, 13, as officer Adam Johnson backs up the play while members of the Superior Police Department play floor hockey with kids at the Superior YMCA on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“Big Mike had a strong connection with the Superior Police Department, and we wanted to keep our part in this event to continue on the memory of him,” said Hannah Bourgault, marketing and community outreach coordinator for the YMCA.

Both Kiel and Bourgault said they expect to expand the event in future years.

“This is the first year, I hope it continues and grows,” Kiel said. “I’m sure Mike would be humbled by this event in his memory.”

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Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander, right, breaks out with the puck as members of the Superior Police Department play floor hockey with kids at the Superior YMCA on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Superior Police Officer Joel Markon poses for a photo with young hockey players during the annual community floor hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 at the Superior-Douglas County YMCA.
Superior Police Officer Joel Markon, center, poses for a photo with young hockey players during the annual community floor hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at the Superior-Douglas County YMCA.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram
Superior Police officers and local children play floor hockey together at the Superior-Douglas County YMCA on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.
Superior Police officers and local children play floor hockey together at the Superior-Douglas County YMCA on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.
Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
What to read next
Read the latest news in the Dispatches from Douglas County newsletter published every Friday.
Online comments will be taken on the plan through Aug. 31.
As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.
The event will include kids' games, live music and more.