Ceremonial puck drop from last year's event (Photo by Rena Laverty)
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and USA Hockey Arena have partnered with the Michigan Veterans Region 9 VCAT for a weekend dedicated to supporting and celebrating veterans, active military members and first-responders during its sixth annual Military Appreciation Weekend this Friday and Saturday (March 23 and 24) at USA Hockey Arena.
The games will pit the U.S. National Under-18 Team against the United States Hockey League's Chicago Steel.
Veterans resource information tables will be set up on Friday during the event (Photo by Rena Laverty)
The weekend kicks off on Friday (March 23) with USA Military Appreciation & Family Night. The NTDP will host a completely cost-free event for local military members and their families that includes a reception, fun activities for the kids and tickets to the game. Last year, over 500 veterans and military family members attended the event, while this year, over 800 people have already reserved their spot for the event.
Saturday (March 24) is the USA Salute To Heroes Night. Team USA will celebrate veterans from all eras and local hardworking first responders. Honored first responders guests will attend the event for recognition before and during the game. Free tickets for the game are available for first responders by clicking here.
"We are looking forward to a fun filled weekend that celebrates and honors our military service members and local first responders," said Michigan Veterans Region 9 VCAT representative Joshua Parish.
The U.S. National Under-18 Team will wear specialty jerseys throughout the weekend. The jersey design will be revealed on the NTDP website and social media channels on Tuesday (March 20). The jerseys will be auctioned off online at the Meigray Auctions website. Bidding will commence in the weeks following the game with all proceeds going back to the Michigan Veterans Region 9 VCAT.
"We are honored to continue this event at USA Hockey," said NTDP senior director of operations Scott Monaghan.
Non-military members can support the night by participating in the second intermission Chuck-A-Puck, and bidding on the game-worn jerseys online after the game. Also the first 1,000 fans attending Friday's game will receive a Team USA camo Koozie.
Team USA locker room with last year's Military Appreciation Jerseys. This year's jerseys will be unveiled on Tuesday (March 20) (Photo by Rena Laverty)
ABOUT THE EVENT: This event was made possible by the support from the US Army, Movement Mortgage, Lake Michigan Credit Union, MIAT College of Technology, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, Freudenberg-NOK, Comcast Xfinity, Bubba’s Promotions, TCF Bank, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Bunker Labs - Detroit, The Mission Continues, Pepsi and US Foods.
ABOUT THE NTDP: In 1996, USA Hockey launched a new initiative called the National Team Development Program, originally based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The goal of this full-time development program is to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on U.S. National Teams and success in their future hockey careers. Its efforts focus not only on high-caliber participation on the ice, but creating well-rounded individuals off the ice.
For more information regarding USA Hockey Arena or USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, please contact Kris Nolt (firstname.lastname@example.org).