Boston Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart continued a B’s tradition last year (started by former Black & Gold defenseman Aaron Ward) when he purchased $5,000 worth of tickets that were given to local military personnel and their families.
“This year it doubled that Blake Wheeler got involved,” said Stuart. “He matched the $5,000 so a lot of military personnel are going to come to the game tonight, and I think Blake and I are going to have the opportunity to meet a lot of people afterward.”
“Stuey took the reigns last year with it, and I’m really happy to be able to help him out with it this year,” said Wheeler this morning after practice.
The “Seats for Soldiers,” program also enabled fans to purchase specially priced Upper and Lower Level seats to be donated to the Boston Bruins Foundation and then to USO New England.
So far B’s players and fans have raised over $84,000 worth of tickets.
Prior to the puck drop this evening, Army SSG Michael Downing will join Stuart and Wheeler on-ice for a ceremonial puck drop. Downing was injured by an IED explosion during his second deployment.
All of the soldiers and their families will be honored throughout the game on the HDX, Zamboni rides, video messages, and the chance to shake hands with the team during intermissions.
The Bruins Foundation is also accepting monetary donations for Operation Homefront New England to send care packages to members of the military.
As such, the Foundation will also hold a silent auction with sticks wrapped in camouflage tape that were used by the team during warm-ups and camouflage jerseys autographed by the players.
“We don’t have a lot of American guys on this team. I think our team as a whole recognizes what they do, but I think it hits a little closer to us, born and raised in the US,” continued Stuart this morning.
“We’re in a great position to do something like this.”