Did you know that close to 150 gifted hockey players lost their lives during the last hundred years. How? By paying the ultimate price during wartime. Let’s take a minute on this Veteran’s Day to honor a few of these heroes.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir, Tom Kennedy was killed in a suicide bomb attack just two weeks into his deployment in Afghanistan in 2012. He was never drafted by an NHL team but spent four years manning the blue line for the Army Black Knights. After his graduation, Kennedy was the hockey program’s officer representative, traveling with the team and serving as a mentor to the young players.
He was the most recent elite player be killed in action, but not the only one to be lost in the war on terror. Before him, it was Derek Hines. The 2003
West Point graduate was conducting security operations in Afghanistan on Sept. 1, 2005, when he was killed in action during a small-arms battle with insurgents. Hines played four years for the Black Knights, scoring 12 goals in 110 games.
This season, the Division 1 Colgate Raiders are playing their home games at the Steven J. Riggs ’65 Rink. This facility is being named in honor of the former captain of the team who was killed in Vietnam in 1968.
Defenseman Tom Brindley left Colorado College to join the Navy in 1967. He died the following year in a small arms battle near Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, posthumously earning the Navy Cross for his bravery.
In 1942 at just 18 years old, Dudley “Red” Garrett earned a roster spot with the New York Rangers. He was a tough man who previously led the OHA with 61 penalty minutes in 18 games in 1941. He played 23 games and had a goalmand two points before being called to duty. He was killed in action off the coast of Newfoundland in 1944 when his ship was sunk by a German U-boat.
Muir tells us, Hockey’s greatest loss though might have been Hobey Baker (Feature Photo). The first American superstar, he skated as a rover for Princeton University where he smashed records and became one of the biggest draws in sports. After the end of his college days, he joined the U.S. Air Force in the First World War, where he served with the Lafayette Escadrille. A skilled flyer, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre for “exceptional valor under fire.” When the war came to an end, he insisted on one last flight before heading home. Tragically, the plane crashed and he perished at 26. The Hobey Baker Memorial Award is given each year to the NCAA’s top player in his memory.
New Jersey Devils’ Kyle Palmieri speaks on his military family:
NHL teams showed their support for the military on Veterans Day by wearing camouflage warmup jerseys prior to Friday’s games and our Lightning took part.
*Click to see Tweet
While the NHL’s participation in celebrating the holiday is a welcomed effort, let’s remember that Veterans Day and hockey do have some commonalities, not just the camo jerseys but real American and Canadian heroes.
(Featured Photo/Hobey Baker)