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NHL salutes the troops

by Staff /

Here are some of the events held League-wide as NHL clubs honored the troops in advance of Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.

Anaheim – Operation Home Front – Nov. 8-9

The Ducks hosted military families from the Southern California chapter of Operation Homefront at Honda Center. The weekend event included all Ducks players and coaches and approximately 200 military family members.

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Atlanta – Visit to Fort Benning – Nov. 6

Since the day he arrived as head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers John Anderson has preached team unity and a willingness to go to battle for one another. To help drive the points of teamwork and cooperation home the Thrashers spent an off-day at Fort Benning, 2 hours south of downtown Atlanta.

The U.S. Army base is the sixth largest in the country and third largest by troop strength -- home to more than 120,000 troops, personnel, and their families.

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Boston - Military makeover for Kessel, Wheeler

On Nov. 7, Bruins forwards Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler joined 4 U.S. servicemen for a “Military Makeover” at Barbershop Lounge on Newbury Street in Boston.

Army Reserve Specialist Matthew Maguire got married Saturday and the Barbershop Lounge will help him prepare for his big day. Joining Maguire, Kessel and Wheeler were 3 fellow soldiers, Private First Class Adam Stebbins, Senior Airman Douglas Freeman, and Sergeant Harold Cooper.

Maguire's platoon attended his wedding and then went to the TD Banknorth Garden for Military Appreciation Night where they, and more than 1,000 members of local military families, were honored during the Bruins-Sabres game.

Maguire, 28-years old from Boston, is set to deploy for Iraq in the coming weeks with the rest of his platoon.

Colorado - Avalanche remember Pearl Harbor

The Colorado Avalanche will be on the road Tuesday, so plans have been made to salute the troops on Dec. 7, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, when they host the Canucks.

Detroit - Veterans Day Heroes Night – Nov. 11

The Detroit Red Wings will honor veterans when the Wings take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. Fans are encouraged to arrive early as the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a Red Wings Veterans Day lapel pin. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday’s game will be opened by an Honor Guard with the United States Air Force from Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The Detroit Red Wings Foundation will be on hand to hold its first fundraising 50/50 raffle with proceeds benefiting the Detroit Red Wings Foundation and the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund. Fans can purchase three raffle tickets for just $5.

Los Angeles – Veterans Day Postcard Night Nov. 11

On Tuesday, Nov. 11, the Kings will honor Veterans Day with a special commemorative Veteran’s Day postcard as part of that night’s Kings-Dallas game at Staples Center at 10:30 p.m. ET.

The Kings Care Foundation will be selling the postcards at the Kings Care Booth (located on the main concourse level) for a donation to Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that seeks to lift troops’ morale and bring a smile to their faces by sending care packages addressed to individual service members deployed overseas. Fans will be encouraged to write messages to troops that are overseas and Operation Gratitude will assist us with the shipping.

New York Islanders – Military Appreciation Night – Nov. 11

The first 10,000 fans attending the Islanders-Flyers game Tuesday will receive a military hat courtesy of MSG+. Servicemen and women attending can show military ID and receive up to 50 percent off.

Ottawa – Canadian Forces Appreciation Night – Nov. 4

On Nov. 4, the Senators held their fifth Canadian Forces Appreciation Night when Ottawa played the Washington Capitals.

The Senators annually host this special night for more than 2,250 Canadian Forces members and their families, thanks to the generosity of CF supporters and Senators fans. More than 1,600 tickets were provided through the CF Appreciation Night supporters and another 650 were received from the Ottawa Senators Tickets for Troops campaign.

Philadelphia – Flyers welcomed the troops

On Nov. 8, the Philadelphia Flyers invited every branch of the United States military to their game with Tampa Bay.

Phoenix – Armed Forces Appreciation Night

The Coyotes honored the troops with Armed Forces Appreciation Night on Nov. 1. Others are schedule for March.

San Jose – Care Package donation Night

Operation: Care and Comfort provides support to deployed U.S. military service members, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and conflict regions, by sending care packages containing needed items. OCC ships to these adopted units on a monthly basis, until they return home.

The Sharks received donations for OCO during their game with Dallas on Nov. 8

Tampa Bay – Veterans Day commemoration – Nov. 13

In Tampa Bay, prior to the Lightning's game with the Red Wings, the National Anthem will be performed on recording by Captains Roselyn Tillman and Terry Joiner, along with Sergeant First Class Dennis Whitfield, from Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq where they're serving in the US Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Following the Anthem, there will be a ceremonial puck drop by Birgit and David Smith, wife and son of the late Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. FC Paul R. Smith. Sgt. Smith hailed from Tampa and was posthumously awarded the nation’s highest and rarest medal for valor in combat at a 2005 White House ceremony. His selfless actions saved 100 of his fellow soldiers while under siege at Baghdad airport in 2003. Sgt. Smith was the nation’s first Medal of Honor recipient of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After the drop, Staff Sgt. Jason Warrenfeltz, a Lightning season ticket holder recently returned from two tours of duty in Afghanistan, is scheduled to start the game by saying “Let’s Play Hockey!”

The U.S. Central Command Joint Service Honor Guard from MacDill Air Force Base is scheduled to present the Colors.

During the second intermission, U.S. Navy Missile Technician 2nd Class Robert Boese will be the center of a Navy Re-Enlistment Ceremony, extending his service 6 more years.


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