With Veterans Day coming up on Monday, the Colorado Avalanche took time Thursday afternoon to meet and thank the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
Avalanche forward Paul Stastny and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere visited the Colorado State Veterans Home at Fitzsimons in Aurora, Colo., and met with resident veterans from World War II, Vietnam and Korea. The Colorado players also met with current military personnel from nearby Buckley Air Force Base.
"You really get a better understanding and appreciation for how lucky we are to be living in this great country, to wake up every day, to make our own choices and be able to do what we are able to do," Stastny said.
The Avs players talked about a variety of topics with the veterans, including Stastny's time in college at the University of Denver and this year's current Avalanche squad.
"I was impressed with how much they knew about the Avs," Giguere said. "They knew who Paul and I were, sometimes you don't expect that."
Stastny has represented the United States at several international hockey tournaments throughout his playing career, including at the 2012 Olympics. He said it's not too hard to remember those who have served and are currently serving overseas when wearing the USA jersey.
"When you do play for your country, when you do put on the red, white and blue, and put on the American flag on your chest, you realize that you wouldn't be able to do it if it wasn't for the military and for all of those brave men and women that fought for us and sacrificed their lives day in and day out," Stastny said.
For Stastny and Giguere, the event was a chance to show the Avalanche's and their own personal gratitude for all the sacrifices the vets have made.
"It's greatly appreciated," Stastny said, "and you couldn't say thank you enough."