London police officers join kids for some impromptu road hockey

Constables Aaron Dartch and Jonathan Sims, both former junior hockey players, won a Sutherland Cup with the London Nationals in 2013. submitted photo

Aaron Dartch and Jonathan Sims have known each other a long time.

The pair were teammates with the London Nationals for four seasons, even winning a Sutherland Cup championship with the team in 2013. Both are now constables with London Police, but the pair’s love of hockey very much lives on.

That much was evident on Saturday. While the officers were wrapping up an unrelated call, they noticed three kids playing road hockey on a dead-end street.

“At first, they looked at us confused, like we were there to shut down the game or tell them to go inside the house,” said Dartch, but once they asked to join in, the children ran and got them sticks.

The officers hung around and played for about 10 minutes, all while keeping a safe distance from the kids and wearing masks.

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“Hockey has given us a lot of great experiences in our lives, so for us to be able to leave a positive and lasting impact with children using hockey was just natural to us,” Dartch said.

“I think we enjoyed playing hockey as much as the kids did.”

Following the fun, Sims and Dartch were reminiscing about the days of playing road hockey in their youth and got an idea.

“We brought ourselves back to when we were kids and we used to play road hockey, and just the excitement that brought to our lives, so we figured we’d go out and get each of the kids a stick and a ball so they can continue playing,” Dartch said.

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The officers placed an online order for three hockey sticks and balls at a nearby Canadian Tire. They picked up the equipment the next day and dropped them off to the kids.

“We got happy tears, smiles, almost a sense of shock where they really didn’t know what to say to us. We were just happy to be able to bring them this positive experience,” said Dartch, adding it didn’t take long for the kids to test out their new gear.

“As soon as we gave them the hockey sticks, we left shortly after to head to another call. We had noticed they were running outside their house and had the net set up. It wasn’t even a minute after we had left and they were back on the street playing road hockey.”

As far as a rematch is concerned, Sims says anything is on the table.

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“I would say we took it a little bit easy on them this time, but there could be a next time, and I’m hoping they bring their ‘A’ game,” he laughed.

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