Hockey game fundraiser brings together those impacted by the Kalamazoo tragedies

Posted at 10:10 PM, Mar 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-05 23:23:15-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- The Kalamazoo community came together on Sunday to help those impacted by last year's shooting tragedy and bicycling deaths.

Thousands of people showed up for the cause and thanked those who were first on scene during those tragic times.

The "We are Kalamazoo" game kicked things off with Abbie Kopf making an appearance before the game. You may remember,  she was one of two survivors of the Kalamazoo rampage last February. The teen was shot in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel along with four other people that night who didn't survive.

"She's been healing up really well since her surgery and she loves coming to games and she loves Slappy," said Toni Daniels, VP of Kalamazoo Strong. "And so we wanted to honor her by dropping the first puck. And last year she wasn't able to be here to do that because she was in the hospital. So this was like a dream come true for her and her family it was a very emotional moment."

Sunday's game was also a fundraiser for the Kalamazoo Strong organization.

On June 7th another tragedy struck after five cyclists died after a vehicle plowed into them while on a benefit ride.

The hockey game served as a way to unite the community and heal from their losses.

Officer Scott Brooks responded to the shooting rampage and spoke with FOX 17 on Sunday.

"It's recognizing the first responders, not just the police, not just the fire but all the EMS personnel, the dispatchers the doctors that helped and those kind of things," said Brooks. "It's the community of public safety and the community of Kalamazoo."

A silent auction included hockey jerseys and other memorabilia to help raise money for the cause.

"It seems the worst in people, that commit these acts, also brings out the best in people. And that's what we've seen here throughout the year in Kalamazoo," said Matt Briden, a Kalamazoo resident.

The K-Wings won the game by a score of 6 to 3.

There is still no word on how much money was raised, but if you'd like to donate to the Kalamazoo Strong organization, click here.