U.S. troops set to begin tournament with donated gear
/ Nashville Predators
Plans for the street hockey equipment donated last month by the NHL to United States forces stationed in Iraq call for a tournament that will run through the Fourth of July holiday, when the sacrifices of those in the military should be most cognizant to the citizens that enjoy their freedom in the U.S.
According to Sergeant Joel Kirk (HHB 5/5 ADA (C-RAM), TF HELLRAISERS), one of the tournament organizers, the street hockey tournament involving seven to eight teams made up of servicemen and women from the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard is expected to begin on July 3 and continue for a week. The participants are stationed at the Camp Victory Base Complex in Baghdad, Iraq. Naturally, service comes first since it is an active war zone, but the games will continue as soldiers receive time off from duty, "and once the heat of the day wears off a bit, hopefully to the low 100's," Sergeant Kirk said in an email.
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for NHL)
Also helping to stage the tournament is Lt. Col. Thomas M. Maddock, USAF (Panel Chair - Developing Iraqi Airmen, ITAM AF Advisor to IqAF A-1/A-7), who grew up in Syracuse, playing hockey and continued to do so at Bowling Green University, skating with future NHLers Rob Blake, Nelson Emerson, Dan Bylsma, Ken Klee, Kevin Dahl, Greg Parks, and Don Barber. Lt. Col. Maddock registered his team during a coaches and players meeting on June 29. "I believe if all goes well they may pursue turning this into a league that runs throughout the year," he said via email.
On June 7, 2010, during a ceremony outside NHL headquarters in New York City, the League donated multiple sets of official NHL-licensed street hockey equipment and apparel to help launch the first NHL Street Hockey League at Camp Victory. UPS arranged the shipping for the nets, sticks, pucks, helmets and goalie gear to the base.
"The Army values physical fitness, certainly, so we love the idea of our soldiers playing any sport," Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon, Jr., Director of the Army Staff, told NHL.com. "Street hockey is a great way to take a pause from the day-to-day hard work of being part of a very tough campaign overseas."