LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Hundreds packed City National Arena Friday night, all to help an injured Metro Police officer and his family.
Family and friends say Officer Shay Mikalonis is a huge ice hockey fan.
So, what better way for the community to support him, than through a charity hockey game?
And it all started with a special surprise.
Joined by his family, Officer Mikalonis make a surprise appearance Friday night to do the ceremonial puck drop at Friday Night’s “Play for Shay” hockey game.
Cheers echoed around City National Arena as he took the ice.
“I actually got him into the police team, and he skated with us a lot before his injuries,” said Metro Police Detective Justin Roth.
Detective Roth is Officer Mikalonis’ close friend. It is still hard for Detective Roth to think about last summer, which is when Officer Mikalonis was shot while responding to a protest on the Las Vegas Strip.
Officer Mikalonis is now paralyzed from the neck down.
Detective Roth says playing in the charity is just one way to stand behind his friend.
“It’s been a long road for Shay,” Detective Roths said. “We’ve been here to support him, go over to his house every now and then, we play chess.”
Around 350 people filled the stands at City National Arena for the charity hockey game.
The event actually sold out, and several people were turned away because the venue had reached capacity.
It cost $20 per person to get in.
And all the money, including from t-shirt and puck sales in the hallway outside, will go to Officer Mikalonis and his family.
12-year-old James Schmierer sold engraved hockey pucks that said “Play for Shay” on them, through his company Epic Custom Pucks.
“We did a Golden Knight, a Silver Knight, and then a hockey player,” Schmierer said.
Schmierer says he just wanted to help.
“I have multiple family members that are cops and firefighters, so it meant a lot being out here,” Schmierer said.
All proceeds from Friday night will be given to the Mikalonis family through the Injured Police Officer’s Fund.
“I’m sure the family is grateful and it’s the least that we can do for Shay for what he sacrificed for this community,” said Chelsea Stuenkel, President of the Injured Police Officer’s Fund.
Everyone came together for one purpose: to support Shay.
“Kid’s a fighter,” Detective Roth said. “He wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t a fighter.”