KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Canadian businessman Eugene Melnyk has extended a trip to include a 24-hour visit with Canadian Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan. Melnyk will visit the local hockey "rink" built by Canadian soldiers and tour the Kandahar Air Field to thank the troops for their hard work and sacrifices for Canada.
In addition, he has arranged for hockey jerseys, hockey sticks, gloves, goalie equipment, in-line skates and gift certificates for Tim Hortons to be delivered as tokens of his appreciation.
"I was scheduled to be in the region on business," said Melnyk, owner of the National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place. "As I was planning for the trip, I found myself paying more attention to the news and sacrifices that our Canadian troops are making for our country.
"Our troops are on their guard 24 hours a day in Afghanistan. I want to bring a slice of Canadian hockey and Canadian coffee for our soldiers to enjoy in the few personal hours that they have when they're not on duty. I want to thank them for the sacrifice they're making and remind them that Canadians are safer because of their commitment," concluded Melnyk.
"It's always great to see support for our soldiers," said Gen. Hillier, CF chief of the defence staff. "Eugene Melnyk is known as an avid hockey fan, and especially at playoff time, it's great to see him thinking of our soldiers and arranging for this special delivery of equipment and gift certificates."
Melnyk also expressed his thanks to the Government of Canada and the Department of National Defence for helping facilitate his trip.
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