Thread: Desert Hockey
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08-12-2005, 03:07 PM
Frozen North
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Desert Hockey


Hockey Equipment Headed To Troops In Iraq
Groups Pool Resources To Donate Sticks, Pads, Shirts

POSTED: 6:16 pm EDT August 11, 2005
UPDATED: 6:42 pm EDT August 11, 2005

BOSTON -- For the troops stationed inside Iraq, any diversion from their dangerous work is a relief, which is why donated hockey equipment from Boston will be welcome.

NewsCenter 5's Janet Wu reported Thursday that it began as a simple diversion on a base north of Baghdad.

"It started with a couple of pickup games," Staff Sgt. Andrew Fay said. "We made some nets. We started making some boards. We got a donation from the Worcester Ice Cats for hockey sticks. A month or so after that, all of the sticks basically broke."

A couple of e-mails later, the Boston Bruins, Franklin Sports and the Boston Police Department, where Fay is on leave as a patrolman, pooled their resources. Equipment for five teams materialized.

"The day-to-day monotony, the heat and the 40 pounds of protective stuff you're wearing, this gives you a chance to go back home," Fay said.

Fay said that it's quite a sight. A couple of times a week, 20 to 60 men play street hockey in the desert. He can only imagine the smiles when the sticks, shirts and helmets arrive.

"Especially the goaltenders. We had to make our own goalie equipment out of old mattresses. They are going to like this a lot," Fay said.

He also predicts the equipment could be part of a diplomatic strategy.

"We're helping the Iraqi people, and we'll bring new things to them. Maybe hockey may be one of them," Fay said.

But those who gave said that they are actually the recipients.

"Thank you. Thank you. This small token of our appreciation," Boston Bruins spokesman Charlie Jacobs said.

"There is a little kid in all of us, and there are a lot of kids over there guarding our country and doing their duty. They are Bruins fans. They are hockey fans," Boston Bruins Foundation spokesman Paul Stewart said.

Meanwhile, his family can't believe the generosity of so many. Although daughter, Ryley, refuses to be too starry eyed.

"Well, they're cool, but the hockey shirts are a little big," she said.

When I was stationed at Guam, we played Roller Hockey in a Parking lot with whatever equipment we could scrounge up. I can relate with these guys.

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