On Wednesday, August 12, Shawn Thornton
took a day off from his two-a-day preseason training to visit the Coast Guard base in Woods Hole. There, he cruised the ocean, swam wearing a survival suit and showed off his marksmanship.
Upon arriving at the base, Thornton was welcomed by Lieutenant Matt Anderson and the B’s forward was given some gifts, which included two number 22-hockey jerseys and an American flag. The smiles from the base personnel were ear-to-ear as the B’s forward put on his new U.S Coast Guard cap, thanked everyone for having him
After moving over to the dock and meeting some of the crewmembers, Thornton hopped onboard a 25-foot response boat for a cruise. Once the boat was on the open sea, and with Martha’s Vineyard in the near distance, Thornton took the boat for a spin.
“That thing flies,” said Thornton of the 25-foot response boat. “I had it floored and [Chief Josh Lemoi] didn’t mind.
“The way that thing turned and maneuvered was pretty remarkable!”
Thornton then geared up in Coast Guard day-glow survival gear and jumped in the water.
“I think they lied to me and told me those survival suits don’t leak,” said a laughing Thornton. “I was a little wet [afterward], but it was still fun.”
Thornton transferred his flag to a 47- foot motor lifeboat stationed in Menemsha and piloted it back to Woods Hole, where he and the crewmembers met for lunch.
A base tour and a visit to the local Coast Guard air base were next. Although the overcast weather kept the Bruin grounded, Thornton was given the opportunity to sit in a Coast Guard plane and helicopter in order to get a taste of glimpse of what these officers go through on a daily basis.
From there, Thornton was assigned to Chief Jamie Simmons issued the B’s winger the protective gear used in gun training. That was followed by a trip to the rope course.
“I was lucky enough to have them take me through,” said Thornton of Simmons and the simulation. “They let me shoot…and I didn’t shoot the hostage on the target, so I was really happy about that.
“I’ve only shot a gun once before and I don’t think I was as accurate as I was today, so I was pretty proud of myself.”
After a full day with the Coast Guard, Thornton said that he had an amazing time and was very grateful for the opportunity. He noted that the teamwork and communication needed to be successful in the Coast Guard is something that hockey players understand.
“It takes a lot of communication for any team to be successful,” he said. “And everyone is phenomenal shape.
“The job they do is a lot tougher than what we do every day and it really puts things in perspective for you.”
The Coast Guard personnel reciprocated the praise for Thornton.
“It was great to have Shawn visit our team,” said Lieutenant Matt Anderson. “I think the whole gang really enjoyed it and I think he had fun too.”