February 28, 2010
— DrewM I was going to make this part of my US-Canada game post (3pm eastern on NBC) but I think it deserves some attention of its own.
US hockey GM Brian Burke made unabashed patriotism part of the teams ethic from the start. To that end the US team has partnered with Operation Homefront to pair each player with a wounded warrior.
"The real heroes in America don't wear hockey uniforms, they wear police uniforms, they wear camo, they wear fire uniforms, and we want our players to understand that what we do is small potatoes compared to what those people do," Burke said Saturday.
So it should come as no surprise that there has been a military component to Team USA's preparations here in Vancouver.
Burke and USA Hockey joined forces with Operation Homefront and had a wounded soldier adopt each member of Team USA. The soldiers sent packages, including letters of encouragement to the players. Those packages were placed in the American dressing room at Canada Hockey Place earlier this week.
"We are very proud of the military in our country and it's part of what we do," Burke said.
If these American heroes helps wealthy athletes win a game, that's all well and good. The most important thing however is what it means to the heroes to be part of the Olympic hockey team. Consider Marine Staff Sergeant John Stanz.
Stanz returned home in December with life-changing injuries suffered in Afghanistan. Stanz has been selected as one of the 25 wounded warriors to be represented by members of the U.S. Olympic hockey team. Ryan Miller will skate for Staff Sergeant Stanz.
"Oh it's awesome. Obviously things don't go too well all the time for me, but that's one definite awesome thing," said Stanz.
Miller said, "Great for our club to show that we really care about what's going on with our armed forces."
...Each player is receiving inspirational gifts from his wounded warrior. Stanz sent Miller a Marine unit hat that says, "Millertime," a Marine challenge coin bearing John's name, a bullet bracelet like the one John Stanz always wears, and a letter.
Stanz said, "I told him good luck and everything and I'll be here rooting for him."
In turn, Stanz will get a jersey from Miller and other items, but of course, the biggest 'get' would be owning a little piece of an Olympic medal.
"I don't really understand why all this great stuff is happening to me, but definitely appreciate it, you know?" said Stanz.
And that right there is why the program is worth it no matter what else happens. Stanz is from Buffalo and says he hopes to meet with Miller after the games. I'm gonna bet win or lose today, that's a given.
This partnership isnt just pr or long distance pen pals. U.S. Army Ranger Captain Chad Fleming (who lost his leg in combat but returned to lead his men on a later tour in Iraq) was invited to address the team last night in preparation for todays game.
No sooner did the U.S. Olympic Team earn a berth into the gold medal game at the 2010 Olympics, was U.S. Army Ranger Captain Chad Fleming called back into duty as a motivating force for those players and coaches in Vancouver.
After arriving in Seattle from Washington D.C. Saturday morning, Fleming rented a car and began the 125-mile trek to Vancouver in order to serve his countrymen -- yet again. Heck, a 125-mile car ride is nothing compared to what Fleming has been through.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that he got the phone call either -- he's been a regular speaker within the Team USA dressing room since orientation camp in August. There was no way he was missing this opportunity.
Following Friday's 6-1 victory over Finland in the tournament semifinals, Team USA General Manager Brian Burke and USA Hockey's Assistant Executive Director Jim Johannson contacted Fleming and Operation Homefront Chairman Rob Wolford and invited them to the team's private dinner on Saturday at 8 p.m. (ET).
"I just know they need me, so I have to get there," Fleming told NHL.com at the time he was some 60 miles from his destination in Vancouver.
You can read more about Operation Homefront here.
Posted by: William Teach at February 28, 2010 07:05 AM (7yTel)
Posted by: Navin R Johnson at February 28, 2010 07:12 AM (HpT9p)
...times sure are different then they were 40 years ago.
God Bless America & SF
Posted by: Serfer62 at February 28, 2010 07:12 AM (HLCnI)
Posted by: Hockeyist at February 28, 2010 07:21 AM (Hu/Da)
Posted by: Pecos Bill at February 28, 2010 07:29 AM (8WOM0)
Can't wait to watch this game today.
Posted by: Original Mikey at February 28, 2010 07:30 AM (TJoID)
Posted by: Pecos Bill at February 28, 2010 07:31 AM (8WOM0)
Posted by: The Great Satan's Ghost at February 28, 2010 07:34 AM (AjCR4)
USA Hockey is going to get another medal today!
I really hope this one goes the distance. The last really good game was the Prelim. Canada v US game.
I would not be surprised to see the boys bring home the Gold.
Posted by: garrett at February 28, 2010 07:35 AM (GCcMu)
God Bless the real American Idols of our great country.
Posted by: johnc_recent_EX-democrat at February 28, 2010 07:35 AM (ACkhT)
Posted by: nevergiveup at February 28, 2010 07:37 AM (0GFWk)
This almost makes me want to watch the game--still remember when USA won in 1980, season tix to Flyers in the 1970s--but this is really heartwarming.
Posted by: ushie at February 28, 2010 07:41 AM (1kwr2)
You can guarantee that the left will no longer support the USA hockey team now!
Posted by: William Teach at February 28, 2010 12:05 PM (7yTel)
Hell, most of 'em dont support the U.S.A. period.
Posted by: Blazer at February 28, 2010 07:44 AM (t72+4)
Posted by: johnc_recent_EX-democrat at February 28, 2010 07:44 AM (ACkhT)
Posted by: Somedude at February 28, 2010 07:44 AM (mMdWG)
Thanks to Drew.
Putting some Smart-Military Hockey Knowledge to us with tmi13's help has made Ace a better place for all.
I declare a US - Canada Flame War for this afternoon's extravaganza.
You filthy Cannucks have ridden our Coat-Tails long enough!
Put down that bag of Ketchup flavored Chips. Stop fantasizing about your Sister's Maple Leaf Panties and get ready to have your Dicks knocked in the Dirt ya' Fuckin' Hosers...
USA USA USA USA USA USA USA
We Eat Beaver!!!!
Posted by: garrett at February 28, 2010 07:45 AM (GCcMu)
"Freakin' Al Gore is such a retard... can someone please arrest him now?"
nah, leave him out there to continue to make an utter fool of himself. More and more peoples eyes will be opened and they will speak of him in disgust.
Posted by: johnc_recent_EX-democrat at February 28, 2010 07:46 AM (ACkhT)
Posted by: Dr. Spank at February 28, 2010 07:48 AM (0FiCa)
And here's someone else who cares about American troops. I'm sure you'll all be cheering for him to do well today, too.
Good luck, guys, and enjoy your silver.
[Any chance of getting pixy misa to un-mistaken-banning me fixed today, Drew?]
Posted by: andycanuck at February 28, 2010 07:53 AM (KdA1d)
Posted by: Dr. Spank at February 28, 2010 07:54 AM (0FiCa)
Posted by: ParisParamus at February 28, 2010 07:57 AM (dF7rp)
And that's Mister Fuckin' Hoser to you, Garrett.
[Okay. I'm gone now until pixy gets me reinstated.]
Posted by: andycanuck at February 28, 2010 07:58 AM (KdA1d)
Posted by: beerologist at February 28, 2010 08:08 AM (tgXx6)
Posted by: Masshole at February 28, 2010 08:22 AM (hjyb5)
Posted by: Masshole at February 28, 2010 08:22 AM (hjyb5)
Posted by: VermillionSky at February 28, 2010 08:40 AM (SUHMd)
Will be drinking my face off this afternoon, and cheering for the Canadians. Some CF friends who just got back from Afghanistan before Christmas will be there, I plan to tell them about this, I bet they'll like it.
I'd love to trash-talk my southern brethren, but really this is the final game I always wanted, so I'll be happy if either wins (but happiest, of course, if Canada takes it)
Best of luck, Morons! I'm off to the Molson beerateria to stock up on supplies.
Posted by: Delicious Lead Paint at February 28, 2010 08:40 AM (5Ykni)
Posted by: tmi3rd at February 28, 2010 08:48 AM (4YqH0)
Posted by: thunderb at February 28, 2010 08:53 AM (Scrz2)
I bet the msn.com start page will have it...
Posted by: beerologist at February 28, 2010 09:01 AM (tgXx6)
In the US, nbcolympics.com or justin.tv will have it, and cbc.ca will have it in Canada.
Posted by: tmi3rd at February 28, 2010 09:30 AM (u+G1L)
Posted by: VermillionSky at February 28, 2010 10:28 AM (SUHMd)
Posted by: VermillionSky at February 28, 2010 10:29 AM (SUHMd)
Posted by: VermillionSky at February 28, 2010 10:40 AM (SUHMd)
Posted by: toby928 at February 28, 2010 10:40 AM (PD1tk)
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Posted by: qwitiiq at June 25, 2010 05:48 AM (FsHwY)
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