Everyone enjoys that little bit of time when you get away from the daily hustle and bustle to your favorite activity. It affords you the opportunity to forget about your troubles and strife, if only for a few minutes. Hockey Saves assists our military in this very thing.
Hockey Saves is a not-for-profit organization, established to give back to hockey-playing military members. Hockey Saves, with donations from civilians, soldiers, and even the NHL, pay for ice time for hockey playing military members. The organization also gets these same folks serving our country, tickets to watch their favorite NHL teams and even an opportunity to meet some of their favorite players. Most recently, with help from the NHL, they have provided sweaters to their hockey-playing military members. I’ve been following this group for a while now and the stuff they do is remarkable!
What started out as a single pick-up game of hockey to say thanks to the troops, has turned into an organization run by members of the military and a few civilians that have jumped on board to help give back to the troops through the game of hockey.
Just last week I reaped the benefits of this wonderful group. I am a soldier in the Tennessee Army National Guard, who in just the last couple of years, has come to love the game of hockey. On my way to lunch last Thursday, I received a direct message on Twitter from the Hockey Saves account. They had an extra ticket to that night’s Nashville Predators/Toronto Maple Leafs game and wanted me to attend. Even though I’m a half-season ticket holder for the Preds, I didn’t have a ticket to that night’s game.
I made my way to Smashville, like I normally would, but this game would be completely different from any I have ever attended. I arrived at the arena and met a couple of fellow military members and received a sweater that the NHL had donated to Hockey Saves. I was able to watch the game from the club level and even made an appearance on the jumbotron.
At the end of the game, I was completely thrown off guard. We were given the opportunity to meet some of the Preds. We made our way down to the locker room area of the arena and waited for a few of the players to come out and meet us. Even though the Preds took one on the chin, the players we were able to meet were excited that we were there. We met Eric Nystrom, Matt Hendricks, Pekka Rinne, and Predators’ Captain, Shea Weber.
This was truly one of the greatest hockey experiences I’ve ever had. I am truly grateful to all who donate to this amazing organization and make things like this possible.
To learn more about Hockey Saves, you can listen to my brother in arms, Seth Bierman at 9pm CDT tonight on the Penalty Box Radio show on 102.5 The Game. If you are not in the Nashville area, you can listen online or even download the podcast on the PBR website.