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Wild To Host Annual Military Appreciation Night

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

On Tuesday, the Wild will host its annual Military Appreciation Night presented by Thomson Reuters.

A number of in-game ceremonies and presentations and in-arena opportunities will occur to honor Minnesota military members and their families.

  • Players will be wearing camouflage jerseys during warmups. Those jerseys will be autographed and auctioned off. A link to the auction can be found here. Proceeds from the auction will be split between the Wild Foundation and Defending the Blue Line. The auction begins November 10 at 6 p.m. and runs until November 30th at 9 p.m.
  • All the regular in-game fan participation events will incorporate a military member, or the family of a military member. That includes the Bench Buddies, the Youth Starting Lineup, Zamboni rides, Schwan's Hockey Mom, Mini Nordy, the Flagbearer (who will be wearing a camouflage jersey), and the season ticket-holder patch presentation.
  • Over 1,000 military members will be in attendance for the game.
  • The Minnesota National Guard Funeral Honors team will be on the ice as the National Anthem is performed.
  • Colonel Jim Johnson of the National Guard will conduct the "Let's Play Hockey" announcement.
  • Defending The Blue Line will raise as much as possible from Minnesota Wild Foundation Split the Pot Raffle, which is being pushed to attempt to create the largest prize ever in raffle history, with the current record at $27,723,35.
  • During the first intermission, the WCCO-TV military appreciation flag will be unfurled on the ice. The flag has been making public appearances across the state, and is 102-by-76 feet in size, weighs over 500 pounds, and set a world record for most signatures on a flag at 120,288. Season Ticket Holders with military ties and other representatives were invited to help carry the flag out onto the ice, and it will take about 80 people to hold. On Wednesday, the flag will formally be presented to the state and National Guard. Eventually, it will be disassembled, framed, and given to different military families and organizations. The signatures on the flag depict a silhouette of a soldier at attention, saluting, as well as the words "MORE THAN NAMES."
  • During the second intermission, 10 Purple Heart recipients will be honored and recognized on the ice. More information on each Purple Heart recipient can be found below. At the west end of the rink, where the American and Canadian flags hang, new flags will be unfurled on each side. To the left of the American flag, a POW MIA flag will hang. To the right of the Canadian flag, a Purple Heart flag will be displayed.
  • Defending the Blue Line will be selling game programs, and will be the beneficiary of those sales. More information on Defending the Blue Line can be found here.
  • Fox Sports North's Fan Express Bus will be transporting Purple Heart recipients to and from the game.
  • FSN is also donating its Elite Seats to the Wild, who in turn is donating them to three Purple Heart recipients.

Ten Purple Heart recipients will be honored on the ice during the second intermission. Each of these servicemen were recognized for their bravery and courage.


Bill Lilledahl: A Buck Sergeant who served in the Korean War, Lilledahl earned his Purple Heart in South Korea in 1950. Originally from South Minneapolis, Lilledahl now lives in Coon Rapids.


Don Parsons: A current Duluth resident originally from Worcester, Mass., Parsons earned his Purple Heart while serving as a Staff Sargent with the 10th Mound Division in Iraq in 2007.

Chuck Jones: The recipient of three Purple Hearts, Jones was a Navy Corpsman assigned to the United States Marine Corps Fleet Marine Force in Vietnam from July 1966 to July 1967. Jones is a former Commander for the Department of Minnesota Military Order of Purple Heart.

Glenn Boche: The current State Commander of the Department of Minnesota Military Order of Purple Heart, Boche has received two Purple Hearts. Originally from South Saint Paul, Boche served in the 22nd infantry of the third battalion of the United States Army in the Vietnam War.

Jim Larson: Has served with the Marines in Vietnam and earned two Purple Hearts.

Jon Albert: A Sergeant in the National Guard, Albert currently lives in Lino Lakes. He earned a Purple Heart while serving in Falluja, Iraq on September 7th, 2007 as part of the Bravo Company 2-136 out of Crookston, Minnesota.

Justin Sabo: A graduate of Rosemount High School, and a current resident of Brooklyn Park, Sabo was a Staff Sergeant who served in the United States Army from 1997-2001 and joined the Wisconsin National Guard after September 11th. He earned his Purple Heart in Samarra, Iraq on July 29th, 2005.

Matthew Gilbert: An Army Specialist in the First Company of the 23rd Battalion out of Fort Lewis, Wash., Gilbert earned a Purple Heart in Baghdad, Iraq on June 6th, 2007.

Marco Solt: Earning his Purple Heart in Afghanistan on May 1st, 2012 from an IED Blast, Solt also received a Bronze Star of Valor for his actions immediately following the blast. A double amputee, Solt has two prosthetics that feature his love of Minnesota sports: One with the Wild logo, and the other with the Vikings logo. 


Steven Albert: Earning a Purple Heart in Vietnam on May 25th, 1971, Albert was an Army Specialist of the Armor Calvary Regiment. He currently lives in Maplewood.

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