STOP DWI programs from Madison, Oneida, and Herkimer Counties joined the Utica Comets the night before Thanksgiving as they hosted the Laval Rockets. The night before Thanksgiving is commonly known as “Drunksgiving” or “Blackout Wednesday” due to the number of people that drink so close to the holiday. Fans were given various opportunities to educate themselves regarding DWIs but also were reminded through giveaways and PSAs. The first 350 people through the door were given a stress hockey puck with the STOP DWI Madison County logo on it. As fans walked through the foyer, an educational table was set up where they could enter to win a Comets jersey by answering a question regarding driving under the influence. Madison County STOP DWI Prevention Education Specialist, Jennifer Cottet, facilitated the questions and provided handouts such as stadium cups, koozies, pens, and flashlights to remind the fans of sober driving.
Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood, Herkimer County Legislator Jim Bono, and Oneida County Probation Director Dave Tomidy escorted Dalton Buss to the ice for the puck drop in honor of his brother Kane Buss. Kane Buss, a 2013 graduate of Oneida High School and aspiring law enforcement student, was killed by a drunk driver in January 2015. Dalton was accompanied by his parents Mike and Claudette Buss along with his fiancé Morgan Simmons. The four of them were given the opportunity to ride the Zamboni in honor of Kane.
Fans saw PSAs throughout the night featuring the sheriffs from Madison and Oneida counties, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Utica Police Chief Mark Williams regarding drinking while driving. There was also a puck shoot where participants were asked to wear beer goggles and shoot into the net.
Comets took the night home with a 3-2 win over Laval Rockets. "I want to remind everyone to not drink and drive and get a safe ride home," said Madison County STOP DWI Coordinator Sgt. Matt White.