The Fargo Force will be hosting their third annual Hometown Heroes Night, courtesy of Cross Insulation, on Saturday, January 23rd versus the Waterloo Black Hawks at Scheels Arena. Last year’s Hometown Heroes Night was a huge success raising over $15,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project through a jerseys auction and sponsor donations. Over 200 tickets to the game were also donated back to local military.
Force head coach and general manager Cary Eades will be behind the bench for the first time during this special Fargo celebration, and he has already noticed the impact the night has had on his locker room.
“First and foremost it gives us a chance to recognize and show appreciation for the military personnel and their families for the sacrifices they make in allowing us to live in a free world,” Eades said. “Secondly, it gives us a chance as coaches to implore some of the same qualities (commitment, hard work, selflessness, discipline, courage, honor, preparation, etc.) that are key components of military success into our players and team.”
Fargo has made plans for in-arena military productions including a special ceremonial puck drop featuring the North Dakota Army National rappel team. Different branches of the military will be featured throughout the arena including a video from overseas, on-ice flag display and more.
The coaching staff and players visited North Dakota Army National Guard earlier in January, an experience that first year goaltender Ryan Wischow said he’ll never forget.
“We talked with some of the people and it was a really humbling experience,” Wischow said. “It’s an honor to wear the camo jerseys and represent the local military who keep us safe. We couldn’t play the game we love without them.”
Wischow is expected to wear a specialty camo goaltender mask for the game on Saturday. Each Fargo player will also have a specialty camo helmet that was hand-dipped and designed for the game. All of the jerseys and two of the game worn player helmets will be auctioned after the game with proceeds going towards the Wounded Warrior Project. All remaining player and goalie helmets are being donated back to all of the sponsors who helped to support the night.
The goaltender mentioned that he hopes his dad can step in and win his jersey in the auction. Wischow added, “It’s the coolest one I’ve ever worn.”
For defenseman Griffin Foulk, the game hits closer to home. Foulk’s brother-in-law is Special Operator 1st Class, Lead JTAC, 1 Troop SEAL Team 3 John Crowley III. The game will be a personal reminder for he and his family.
“Playing in a game which honors those who have served or are currently serving is a tremendous honor,” Foulk said. “The men and women who sacrifice their lives to keep our country safe are the ultimate heroes.”
“There’s a lot of hype behind the game,” Wischow added, pointing to the fact that he and many of his teammates have had Saturday’s game circled on the calendar for a while. “You’re playing for something bigger than the team that night.”
Any sponsors or individuals looking to help give back more to Fargo’s local heroes that evening can purchase tickets for $9.95 each that will be donated back to military members and families. More information on purchasing these tickets can be found by clicking HERE.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.