The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/26/14 at 11:11 AM ET
From the Plymouth Whalers:
PLYMOUTH WHALERS, WINDSOR ‘PLAY IT FORWARD’ FOR BIENIEWICZ on AUG. 30
All proceeds of pre-season game will be donated to the John Bieniewicz Foundation
In soccer, the term “friendly” refers to a game between two teams that is an exhibition game. A “friendly” is a match that generally has no impact in the standings.
“Friendly” is not usually used in the same sentence with the Plymouth Whalers and Windsor Spitfires. The two bitter Ontario Hockey League rivals have battled through 206 regular season games since 1990 and several memorable playoff series.
Need proof? Check the video the last time Plymouth and Windsor met on March 15, 2014 at Compuware Arena.
That’s going to change on Saturday, August 30 at 2 pm at Compuware Arena. The Whalers and Spitfires hook up in a “friendly” in a benefit for John Bieniewicz, the Livonia soccer referee who passed away while working a game.
Called “Play it Forward for Bieniewicz”, 100 percent of the proceeds in the game benefit the John Bieniewicz Foundation and C.O.P.S. MI (Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors) Chapter.
Tickets run $10 in advance (general admission) and $12 at the door and can be purchased online on http://www.plymouthwhalers.com. Tickets are also available at the Livonia Police Department (734-466-2470).
Admission to the game includes a Meet-and-Greet session with the Whalers after the game.
The game provides the backdrop for the hockey and soccer community to rally around a good cause for good people.
John Bieniewicz died after being assaulted while working a soccer game on June 29 at Mies Park in Livonia. Bassel Saad is charged with second-degree murder in his death. The trial is ongoing.
The local community has taken a pro-active approach towards the John Bieniewicz Foundation, with various fundraisers held over the summer and more events on the way – including the Whalers/Spitfires game on Aug. 30.
“The support from everyone is amazing,” said Kristen Bieniewicz, John’s wife. “When I saw that the Whalers were looking to do a game, I wondered, ‘How would hockey even get involved?’ But then I found out it was through the Livonia Police Department and they had been involved a game before (in 2013).”
There is a hockey connection with the Bieniewicz family. Son Josh, 9, plays for the 2005 Farmington Fire.
“With everything that has been going on, it’s proven to me that there’s still more good out there than bad, “said Bieniewicz. “It’s impossible for me to thank everyone for everything that they are doing. I can’t express my gratitude enough.”
Livonia Chief of Police Curtis Caid deals with his share of serious, real-world issues every day. He’s happy to lend support to the game and the heartfelt cause of helping people.
“This game is a great opportunity for the city of Livonia, our citizens and everyone else to get involved with a worthwhile cause,” said Chief Caid. “It gives the community an opportunity to see great hockey while helping a local family help overcome a tragedy. There are some parallels in hockey, soccer and police work. All three will work together for one day to assist the Bieniewicz family.”
Fans on both sides of the border can lend their support by attending the game.
On Aug. 31, 2013, Plymouth and Windsor opened the preseason at Eddie Edgar Arena in Livonia, playing to a 5-5 draw before a sellout crowd of 1,000 fans. 100 percent of the proceeds of that game (estimated north of $35,000) went to the Livonia Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Larry Nehasil Park in Livonia.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.