Golden Valley firefighter likes the ice when not battling blazes
KINGMAN – The ice might’ve melted around Kingman, but a local athlete and firefighter will be hitting the slick this weekend in Las Vegas.
Hockey might not be the most popular sport in town, but Golden Valley Fire Department firefighter Bryon Kimber will be joining firefighters, police and fellow ice bandits today through Sunday at the Fiesta Hotel and Casino for the Thin Blue Line Hockey tournament.
The event proceeds will go towards a charity for fallen law enforcement and firefighters from all over the country.
Kimber grew up in the Los Angeles area, home to NHL teams Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, and has been playing hockey since the age of eight. He played for the semi-professional Phoenix Dragons roller hockey team for two years before moving to Kingman 13 years ago.
“When I moved out here, there was no hockey,” Kimber said. “When I find the time, and I’m available, I make trips to Vegas to play ice hockey.”
The goaltender will playing with Battle Born, one of 10 teams comprised of law enforcement officers, firefighters and hockey players from Utah, Arizona and Nevada.
With scant hockey opportunities in Kingman, Kimber drives to Las Vegas to keep his skates and skills sharp, sometimes twice a week. He skates with other first responders, many of whom are Las Vegas Metro Police officers.
“That’s how I got involved with the tournament,” he said.
This will be Kimber’s fourth tournament and he’s had past support. He said the Yucca Fire Department helped sponsor a team for last year’s tournament. Flashover Graphics, owned by GVFD Capt. Dave Cunningham and his wife Cindy, an ER nurse at Kingman Regional Medical Center, made hockey jerseys for Kimber’s team. First responder blood runs in their veins.
“We were also sponsors of Lee Williams High School,” Cindy said.
Kimber hopes the tournament will eventually tie in with the NHL expansion team Vegas Golden Knights, which will hold their inaugural season this year.
“As far as the Knights go, they’ve been supportive of local hockey organizations,” said Las Vegas Metro PD officer, hockey player and coordinator Phil Merges.
Ticket sales from two Saturday charity games will go toward the Injured Police Officers Fund, which benefits a different recipient each year.
In his time off, Kimber heads up to Las Vegas for a few beer league games with other hockey pals.
“It’s more of a good time than to actually compete,” he said.
As for getting Kingmanites on board for the sport, Kimber local food and drinking establishments always have a hockey game on, so there are fans out there somewhere, and what better reason to start getting involved.
“I thinks there’s a lot more folks here that enjoy hockey than you think,” he said. “Come down and show support for your local police and fire.”
For more information on the tournament, check out https://www.npaf.net/Events/Details/Thin%20Blue%20Line%20Hockey%20Tournament-278 or call Merges at 702-682-2815.