The Ottawa Fire Department (OFD) is rich in tradition. From its humble beginnings as a one-pump station protecting the citizens of then Bytown in the 1850's, the OFD has grown into a one-thousand member department of 27 stations. Comprised of the former fire silos of “Old” Ottawa, Nepean, Gloucester, Cumberland, and Kanata, the OFD is now one of the largest fire departments in North America - serving the entire Ottawa Region.
One of the constants throughout the growth of the OFD throughout the years has been the sport of hockey. The sport is one of the traditions that has been played by firefighters over that entire stretch of time. Many recreational and competitive teams and leagues have come and gone over the years. More recently however, although there are currently 2 OFD leagues comprised of 10 firefighter-only teams being played annually in Ottawa, there has not been a consistent “competitive” tournament or charity team for over 20 years.
As a result, Derek Bowker, a 12-year OFD veteran set out to change that. Coupled with the need to create a competitive OFD hockey team that members and the City could be proud of. Following much hard work and perseverance, “Hockey for Little Hearts” was born in 2009. The team has been created as a competitive, A-level team that practice and train together year-round for tournaments and other fundraising events. It will help to be a unifying force for the OFD as the Nation’s Capital team that firefighters and the City can truly be proud of. The team will compete throughout the city, province, country and internationally in hockey tournaments in order to promote the City of Ottawa and raise money for the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario's (C.H.E.O.) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).