In a school first, the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks are honouring the military at their women’s hockey game Friday night.
Team equipment manager, Sam Keane, brought the idea to other management members.
“He wanted to do a Military Appreciation Night in support of Soldier On,” says Chris Cameron, Ontario Tech sports’ information and special events planner.
Soldier On is a program of the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group that is committed to supporting veterans. The group helps members adapt and overcome permanent physical or mental health injury or illness through physical activity and sport.
Warrant Officer Tony Moreau and his daughter Captain Kristina Moreau will take part in the ceremonial puck drop. Both served in the Canadian Armed Forces with distinction and were injured in the line of duty.
Alex Edwards and Don Edwards of Oshawa’s Branch 637 of the Royal Canadian Legion will present the colour party to accompany the pre-game ceremony.
The Ridgebacks athletic program has a leadership council made up of members from different teams. The council decides on other organizations, charities and events to which they want to bring awareness.
“Like ‘Think Pink’, they decided that as a council,” explains Cameron.
Think Pink is an annual campaign in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and SickKids Foundation held during the month of October. Last year, the women’s lacrosse and both men’s and women’s soccer, basketball and hockey teams took part.
Cameron adds a lot of these types of awareness nights are team driven.
“On Feb. 1, we have a basketball game (on the schedule). So that night our basketball teams came to us and said they wanted that night to be Black History month kickoff,” says Cameron.
Going into Friday’s game against the York University Lions, the Ridgebacks are on a three-game winning streak.
On the season, Ontario Tech is 5-12, while the Lions are 10-5, second overall in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) women’s hockey standings. The Ridgebacks faced the Lions twice in October and lost both games.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Ice Centre and a portion of ticket revenue will be donated to Soldier On. The evening will also feature additional donation opportunities.