CALGARY, AB -- Joe Colborne is putting in some serious work off the ice.
And it isn’t in preparation for next season.
The Calgary Flames forward is preparing to host the inaugural Colborne’s Forces Benefit Concert featuring country music act Emerson Drive.
“I was looking for a way to bring the public and the military together and have a fun night and let the men and women of our military know we appreciate what they’re doing,” said Colborne, who registered a career-high 19 goals and 44 points in 73 games this season. “Hopefully we can provide them with a fun night they can enjoy and be proud to know they enjoy the fun they’re going to have.”
Proceeds from the June 23 concert will be directed to Support our Troops, with a portion going to The Military Museums Foundation.
“We as Canadians don’t do enough to thank them and recognize the sacrifices they’re making,” Colborne said. “There are so many good causes, whether it’s the Children’s Hospital or cancer or different diseases … there are so many great causes that it can be. This is one I hold near and dear to my heart. These men and women are sacrificing their bodies, their mental health, their lives to go over there and protect us and make it so we can wake up every day and feel safe and comfortable in our beds at home. We don’t have to have that worry of waking up every day and worrying if we’re going to get bombed or something like that go on in your life. It’s something I think we do take for granted.
“They’re the heroes. They are the true heroes.”
Colborne announced his marquee community program, Colborne’s Forces, in November 2014 in partnership with Packers Plus. He purchased season tickets for Canadian Armed Forces members to attend every Flames home game.
Following every home game, the Canadian Armed Forces guests meet the Flames forward and check out the team’s locker room, and guests are saluted in-game throughout the year.
The extension of this support has resulted in the creation of this unique country concert event, exclusive fundraiser and tribute to the Canadian military.
It was a natural connection for Colborne, born prior to a flight taken to Kelowna a few summers ago.
“I was in the airport and was chatting with a couple guys who were sitting in a restaurant,” Colborne recounted. “This kid recognized me, came up and asked for a picture and an autograph and the kid didn’t even mention anything to the two armed forces guys sitting there. It made so little sense to me.
“In a way, that’s pretty common. I just think that we as hockey players are very, very fortunate to get some publicity and notoriety by playing a game we love to play. These guys are not going into the military for any fanfare. They’re doing it just because they think it’s the right thing to do.
“I think it’s just sad that people would rather spend time with hockey players … where we lose a game we go home after and feel disappointed, but you wake up the next day and it’s a brand new day. These guys have a bad day at work … they might not be coming home at all.
“When you think about it, it sounds almost cliché, but when you sit down and think … they have an unlucky day or a rough day, they might be seeing some of their best friends not coming home, or their best friends get mentally unhinged a bit and have some PTSD and struggle to get back to a regular life.
“There are so many things we really take for granted. I don’t think we’ve done enough to thank them.”
The concert, suggested Colborne, is a small step towards doing just that.
“You’re looking for an opportunity to interact with the men and women of the military. I’m a big country music fan. So many times you see there are golf tournaments or poker tournaments and stuff like that where you don’t get too much interaction between the military and the people in the golf tournaments or poker tournaments. It’s usually mostly just hoping people will spend money.
“It’s going to be a heck of a night with some great music.”
For tickets to the Colborne’s Forces Benefit Concert, visit the Colborne’s Forces website HERE.