Last summer, Coon Rapids Police Officer Bryan Platz’s uncle suffered cardiac arrest and nearly drowned. But thanks to an AED (automated external defibrillator) his uncle survived that catastrophic episode.
As a result, “AEDs are near and dear to me,” Platz said.
And so, Platz is leading a cooperative effort between Coon Rapids police and fire departments to establish the city of Coon Rapids as a Heart Safe City – the first in Anoka County.
In fact, just last month, Coon Rapids Police placed an AED in each one of the department’s squad cars.
Now, Platz has organized a Sunday, Jan. 27 charity hockey game to raise $3,200 – enough money to purchase two more AEDs.
But it’s not just anybody strapping on the blades and taking the ice for that hockey game.
Former Minnesota North Star hockey great Brad Maxwell and other Minnesota NHL alumni will take the ice against a local team of amateurs, including Platz and a few other members of Coon Rapids police and fire departments as well as a handful of residents of Coon Rapids, Andover, Anoka and Blaine.
On the Minnesota NHL alumni team in addition to Maxwell, Platz said the line-up features a roster of players that includes Shjon Podein, Tom Chorske, Tom Younghans, Dan Trebil, Chris Dahlquist and Donnie Beaupre. The game will be officiated by two former NHL officials.
The game is at Bloomington Ice Garden; the puck drops at 7 p.m. and tickets are free.
Funds are raised when amateur players “pay to play” alongside the NHL alumni players in a fantasy-type hockey game, Maxwell said.
The non-profit Minnesota NHL alumni are eagerly on board for this event because their goal for 2013 is to purchase 40 AEDs and put one in every metro-area ice rink.
They’ve already got a dozen and after the Jan. 27 game, they’ll have two more.
“There are 35, 40 ice rinks in the area and most do not have AEDs in place as of yet,” said Maxwell, president of the Minnesota NHL alumni association.
“We’re out to meet that need.”
While the Coon Rapids Ice Center does already have an AED, the Jan. 27 charity hockey game will serve as a platform to kick off Platz’s campaign to make Coon Rapids a Heart Safe City.
Part of achieving that designation is to get AEDs in as many retail establishments in the city as possible, Platz said.
“The Heart Safe City program is a program where we teach citizens basic CPR and how to use the AEDs located in area businesses,” he said
Coon Rapids police and fire personnel see many cardiac episodes at local retail locations each year, Platz said.
Those CPR/AED lessons will be available free of charge to any Coon Rapids resident, according to Platz.
“We will also be holding train-the-trainer programs (also free) to get as many CPR instructors in our community as possible,” Platz said.
“This program will teach the ordinary citizen the basics of cardiac care and provide a huge advantage to any victim in those first critical minutes prior to emergency service arrival.”
To learn more about achieving the Heart Safe City designation, visit www.allinahealth.org.
To learn more about the Minnesota NHL alumni club and its mission to provide charitable support for the community, visit www.mnnhlalumni.com.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]