CHaD Battle of the Badges is a family affair for NaultsBy ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader March 25. 2018 7:53PM
MANCHESTER — Tom Nault has played in the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Battle of the Badges game before but this year’s contest was different.
The 11th installment of the charity exhibition game marked Nault’s third representing Team Fire against Team Police. It was his first playing alongside his son, Nick, however.
Both Tom and Nick Nault manned the blue line for Team Fire in a 9-5 loss to Team Police with 5,950 fans in attendance on Sunday at SNHU Arena.
Proceeds from the game, which the New Hampshire Union Leader helps to sponsor, benefit programs at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon.
Nick, a member of the Goffstown Fire Department, was paired primarily with Hollis Fire Department member Kevin Crowder.
Tom, who has been with the Concord Fire Department for nearly 25 years, skated with Team Fire captain Jeff Clattenburg, among others.
“It was pretty incredible,” Tom said. “Back when I first started (playing in the game), Nick was eight years old.”
While watching Nick skate as Team Fire prepared for the game, Tom said he tried to pick up things from his son to use on his next shift.
“It didn’t help, though,” Tom joked.
Tom and Nick both graduated from Goffstown High School — Tom in 1990 and Nick in 2017. Nick played hockey for the Grizzlies each of his four years at the school, serving as captain his junior and senior seasons.
Sunday gave Nick the opportunity to play against two of his former coaches in Ben Slocum and Kyle Daly, who both represented Team Police. Slocum, Goffstown High’s head coach, scored 6:50 into the third period to give Team Police an 8-4 lead.
“It was nice hitting the body a little bit. It’s just joking around, all laughs,” Nick said about playing against Slocum and Daly.
The Naults have three or four generations of firefighters in their family, Tom said. Nick, who played hockey for the Seacoast Spartans this past season, is in his first year with the Goffstown Fire Department.
Tom and Nick helped this year’s exhibition raise $286,000 for CHaD. The game has raised more than $2.23 million over its 11 years. Tom raised about $3,000 while Nick raised about $3,600.
Nick wants to play in next year’s game. Tom said he will likely retire from skating in the contest but would like to help with the exhibition as a volunteer.
“I mean, I’ll continue to play hockey but not at this level,” Tom said. “It’s a young man’s game. Just sitting there watching it, it’s like, it’s time.”