NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Community members, first responders, and shelter volunteers suited up Saturday to play in Metro Animal Care and Control’s Annual ‘Shelter Cup’, this year, missing an MVP– Metro Officer John Anderson.
“Him and I are both lover of dogs and we wanted to give back to the community, there’s not better way to do than playing hockey,” said his close friend, Jimmy Nally.
“Not a guy you can miss. Red pads, left handed goalie, which is opposite of most, so he kind of stands out a bit,” Andy Morlando, a player in the tournament said.
Anderson was hit and killed while on patrol just two days before this tournament at Ford Ice Center in Antioch. They honored him with a moment of silence before each game.
“I wish he was here in net with us, on a team, him and I love playing hockey and doing things together,” Nally said, “Part of me is like do I play or do I spend time with family? And his family’s like no be out there and play, represent him, this is what he was, so I had to do this.”
“It’s just one way for us to just show our respects to John and to remember him,” said Firefighter Capt. Scott Wrenn, “It’s a tough job and we’re always out there. We understand the risks, but you know, to lose somebody like that in a tragic moment is very difficult for all of us.”
A special spectator in the crowd– Anderson’s 18-month-old son, Gavin, who he hoped would play hockey too someday.
“I looked over and saw him, and I was just like ‘oh my God..’ and instantly held him and just like any other time I held him before, it just felt natural,” Nally said.
Now dad’s friends will have to help teach him.
“I didn’t know what to say or do… I wanted to cry and not cry at the same time… trying to be strong for her and help her out anyway I possibly can,” Nally added, “I know his dad’s probably looking down on me like you better win it now, so we’re gonna give it all we got and bring it home for him.”
Nally’s team did end up winning the cup this year, in honor of Officer Anderson.