International Heroes Hockey Night in Kingston aims to bring together the Veteran Community for a fun day of hockey. The Montreal Canadiens Alumni are scheduled to play against Our Nations Heroes. Our Nations Heroes team will be made up of Soldiers, Veterans, and Civilian First Responders.
The hockey game is a fundraiser for the Portraits of Honour Foundation started by artist Dave Sopha and his daughter Terri Sopha. As a Foundation Dave Sopha donates a portion of the funds, he receives to a number of organizations that aid in Veterans and First Responders recovery from Operational Stress Injuries. Kerri Tadeu, a registered psychiatric nurse, agreed to take on and organize the Mental Health portion of the event.
One of the Nations Heroes players is American Veteran, Bobby Henline. Throughout his military career, Henline served five tours of duty. His first being Desert Storm and became a Veteran at the age of 19. He re-enlisted in September 2001 and was deployed to Iraq four more times.
On his final tour in Iraq, while travelling in a Humvee with four other comrades, their vehicle would be hit with an IED. Out of the five men in the vehicle, Henline was the only survivor. He was burnt beyond recognition, with burns covering 38 per cent of his body. He was then placed into a medically induced coma and flown back to the United States.
During his hospital stay, Henline remained positive and upbeat, turning to humour to get him through each day. His occupational therapist encouraged him to participate in an open mic night and try his hand at comedy. Today, Henline continues his comedic journey at a variety of venues throughout the USA and Canada.
During the last period of the hockey game, a junior hockey team will have a chance to play against the Montreal Canadiens Alumni team.
“It’s a really fun part of the program where the Montreal Canadien Alumni players are fully engaged in interacting with the children creating memories surely to last a lifetime,” said Tadeu.
A slideshow will be featured on the jumbotron with photos of Military, Veterans and First Responders children to acknowledge their sacrifices “…because we know when one member of the family serves, the entire family serves,” Tadeu added.
In addition to the game itself, Tadeu said in the hallways of the K-Rock Centre, a number of organizations, such as Broadmind, Project Trauma Support, Kingston 4 Paws Service Dogs, Wounded Warriors Canada, Veterans Transition Network, Cadence Health and Wellness, CannaConnect, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, Iron King Gym & Black Rifle Coffee (both of which are Veteran owner and operated) will be available to speak with all those in attendance about what they do with and for Veterans, First Responders and the Veteran Community.
“It is my experience that it’s Veterans and First Responders who help each other recover from their Operational Stress Injuries and creating an event where we can bring the Veteran community together is where, I believe, the healing happens, and individuals find a space where they can move their pain into purpose.”
Chantal Brouillette will sing the American National Anthem, while Gabby Koch will sing the Canadian National Anthem. During the singing of the national anthems, children of American and Canadian serving members, Veterans and First Responders will be arranged in the shape of the American Flag and Canadian Flag. MP Mark Gerretsen has arranged to have paper flags available for the spectators to wave their support during the game.
The event is scheduled to take place on October 28, 2018, at the K-Rock Centre in Kingston Ontario at 2:00 p.m.
October 28 is also the start of the Poppy Campaign, so there will be poppies made available courtesy of Merrill Gooderham from the 560 Legion.
The K-Rock Centre can hold up to 5,000 people and Tadeu along with Sherry Lachine of Broadmind, Brittany and Arthur Laramie Iron of King Gym, are focused on a sell-out event. You can purchase an early-bird ticket for $25 before the price goes up to $28. Tickets can be purchased through the K-Rock Centre or by contacting Kerri Tadeu at [email protected] shortly.
In addition to the hockey game, on October 27, 2018, the evening before Our International Heroes Hockey Night in Kingston, Henline will join local Kingston comedian and proud military supporter Ryan Denee, for an evening of comedy in Kingston. More details are to follow in the coming months.