Brotherhood. We see the phrase “Brotherhood” in hockey all the time. Enforcers protect their brothers on ice. In a hockey season, players spend more time with their “brothers” on the team than with their real life family. Through the thick and thin of a season, your teammates become your family.

Brotherhood. You have my back, I have yours.

Brotherhood. The fire service has long been considered a “Brotherhood”. You follow your brothers (and sisters) into hell, trusting your brothers literally with your life. Brotherhood. You have my back, I have yours. I won’t let you down. For 24 out of every 72 hours, your brothers on shift are your family. You eat, sleep, train and work together.

Hockey players around the world speak a universal language. It doesn’t matter if they are playing in the NHL , or a local D-league adult team; when hockey players meet you instantly have a shared bond. Whether it is a friendly chirp or talking the latest in stick technology, there is a shared love. When firefighters meet, it’s also an instant bond. When a firefighter walks into another firehall, there is an instant connection. Firefighters have a common bond in knowing your brother has fought the fire and tamed the beast as you have. When you meet, you instantly talk equipment, techniques, good calls and bad. There is an instant bond stronger than blood, forged in fire. When a firefighter loses their life, whether they are on your department or across the country, it is like losing a member of the family.

The Brotherhood. You have my back; I’ve got yours, on ice or in the fire. Hockey players and firefighters take care of their own. When tragedy occurs in the hockey world, the hockey “family” is quick to take care of its own. The same is true in the fire service.

mikey game

Michael “Mikey” Malone was a 2004 recruit for the Nashville Fire Department. Prior to joining NFD, he was in the United States Marine Corp, and served in the Middle East. After leaving the Corps, he still had the passion to protect and the willingness to put his own life on the line to help others. Mikey Malone’s first assignment was to Engine 5 in downtown Nashville . He then moved from station to station, before being assigned to Engine 3. Mikey was almost always with one of the city’s busiest companies, but never complained. By all accounts he was a “fireman’s fireman.” He was the guy you wanted on your shift; the hardest worker,even picking up the slack of others.

A little over a year ago Mikey started feeling “off”,and  losing energy. By late summer of 2013, Michael was feeling even worse and went to the doctor. A large cancerous mass was found in his stomach. He immediately began aggressive treatments, traveling wherever needed, for therapies. The treatments continued through the fall and into winter. In early January he went to Arizona for an experimental alternative treatment. This treatment had to be cut short and he and his wife returned to Nashville. The,n early on the morning of January 20th, Mikey answered his last call.

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Firefighter Mike Malone is survived by his wife, Kimberly, and their two children: Luke (5) and Keri (2).

malone woodpecker

On Saturday March 22, 2014, The Nashville Fire Department Hockey team is hosting the Metro-Nashville Police Department team at A-Game Sportsplex in Franklin. Admission is free, with donations accepted. 100% of all proceeds from the game will be donated to the Malone family. The ceremony will begin at 6:45pm with a ceremonial puck drop by Luke. There will be several items up for auction, including Predators tickets and three Mike Malone pucks. Only five of these pucks were made, with two going to Luke and Keri and three being auctioned. There will also be NFD hockey merchandise for sale, again with proceeds benefiting the family.

In hockey, the fire service and in life, we take comfort from the brotherhood, knowing you have my back, and I have yours. Rest easy Brother, we have your back.

Note: In addition to being a huge hockey fan, and co-host of Penalty Box Radio. Big Ben served 10 years as a volunteer rescue technician and firefighter with Rutherford County Rescue Squad and Rutherford County Fire Department before being medically sidelined. He worked on a variety of apparatus including Rescue and Engine companies.