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Wings pick up an assist with platoon

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT – Base on the photos of soldiers in army-issued black shorts and heather grey T-shirts, the Loghman Province looks like an unpleasant arid terrain, certainly nothing conducive for a fun pick-up game of street hockey.

While the air temperature can be oppressive, hockey helps The Gamberi 18 make the most of an otherwise stressful situation. See, The Gamberi 18 is a platoon of soldiers assigned to the 101st Sustainment Brigade from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, currently serving in Gamberi, Afghanistan.

Recently, the soldiers – who had improvised by using big sticks and metal pipes instead of hockey sticks – reached out to the Red Wings in hopes that the NHL club might send them much-needed street equipment.

The point person for the platoon, SFC Marshall Brown, a huge hockey fan himself, wrote, “I was wondering if you might consider donating some sticks & jerseys in support of our street lot.”

Approximately two weeks later, the Wings’ care package stuffed with everything two teams would need to start up a street hockey game arrived in the Loghman Province. The soldiers received three goalie masks, two complete sets of goalie pads and two goalie sticks; two goalie nets, and 11 sticks.

“I was not aware you were sending the goalie equipment, but, that was truly awesome!” SFC Brown wrote.

On June 17, the soldiers played their first street game, albeit on a cleared dirt swath of land on the sprawling desert base in eastern Afghanistan. According to SFC Brown, his team won that first game, 9-4.

And it seems that the Wings’ donation has been a huge moral boost to the troops.

“Looks like this will be a weekly event,” SFC Brown wrote.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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