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Ice Hockey Set for Fourth Annual Military Appreciation Night
01.13.14 |
Lebanon Valley ice hockey takes the ice with a purpose this weekend, hosting the fourth annual Military Appreciation Night at Hersheypark Arena. 

The team faces off against the U.S. Naval Academy in a game to benefit the LEEK Hunting & Mountain Preserve and the Keystone Wounded Warriors. In just three years, this event has raised approximately $60,000 for the cause.

LEEK is a volunteer-run facility in Potter County, Pa., dedicated to offering therapeutic outdoor programs for wounded veterans with all levels of disabilities. Keystone Wounded Warriors raises awareness and enlists the public's aid for the needs of injured service members. The organization helps injured service members aid and assist each other, while also providing unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.

Leading up to the game, the team has been selling t-shirts and running its annual jersey auction. The team will be wearing custom-designed jerseys (shown to the right) for one game only before turning them over to auction winners.

Bidding has been live online at all month and will continue online until Friday at noon. In-person bids will then be accepted at Hersheypark Arena during the game on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The team will also be holding silent auctions for a number of prizes throughout the night. The list of prizes will continue to grow leading up to game time, but items already include a signed Evgeni Nabakov jersey, a jersey from last year's winter classic, and a custom handmade military cornhole set. Everyone that comes to the game on Saturday will receive free admission, plus a ticket to put towards a number of different door prizes as well.

The U.S. Navy Club in Lebanon has committed a $5,000 donation this year and a check presentation will occur on the ice with their commander, Don Chappel, and other members of the board prior to the game. Additionally, a ceremonial puck drop will occur with Commander Steve MacDonald of LEEK and the Director/Co-Founder of Keystone Wounded Warriors, Paul Spurgin.

Military Appreciation Night was started under former LVC assistant coach Spiros Anastas '10 and continues under the guidance of head coach Don Parsons, with team leadership from senior Tyler Skroski. 

The Dutchmen struggled to open the year, but have looked better lately, with two wins over No. 8 Delaware and a victory over No. 9 Stony Brook in early December. LVC salvaged a split with No. 14 Rhode Island this past weekend, including a 2-1 victory on Friday evening.

LVC aims to gain momentum from its two other games this week against Delaware on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Newark and versus Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Friday at 7 p.m. inside Hersheypark Arena. The Valley will also try to piggyback off the momentum from last year's dramatic 3-2 overtime victory and take that into Saturday's contest. Puck drops at 7 p.m.

Place a bid for your custom-designed jersey here!

Check out Skroski's "A Different Kind of Gift", a look behind the scenes of Military Appreciation Night in last week's post on The Flex.

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