Saturday, Traverse City Central and Bay Reps hockey programs participated in the 9th annual Veterans Cup.
Donations went towards the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight and the game’s jerseys, which had the last name of veterans in attendance on the back, were gifted to the vets after the game.
“I just feel an overwhelming amount of support. And it’s, you know, shown out here with both teams. So, it was just great to see everybody playing hard and honoring all of our vets,” Justin Sheehan, Navy vet and former member of SEAL Team SIX said.
Donations went towards the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight and the game’s jerseys, which had the last name of veterans in attendance on the back, were gifted to them after the game. Many of the players repped family members who have served.
“I have my great grandpa on [the jersey]. He served and I’m so thankful but unfortunately, he’s not with us here today. So, I’m gonna give it to my grandpa Charlie. It’s just gonna be such a special moment for my family you know, just that’s what it’s all about family and love out here,” Bay Reps senior Nick Dashner said.
The Reps came out with a 2-1 win and got to hoist up the coveted Veterans Cup. But the meaning of the game was not lost on the Reps squad.
“You feel special. You get to honor somebody’s legacy. And it’s just to remember everybody who served and yeah, so you don’t really think about it till after, but you get to it’s such a special moment for the team and for everybody involved,” Dashner said.
The annual game with hundreds in attendance and raising thousands leaves behind a lasting impression.
“I’m honored. Obviously. Sometimes I feel like I’m not even deserving of it. I think that’s what a lot of vets feel, they don’t want to be recognized for it or whatnot,” Sheehan said. “We did it because we love our country. You know, I enlisted right after 9/11 and I never needed a thank you. But I obviously am very grateful for you know, for opportunities like this.”
In the nine years of hosting the Veterans Cup, the programs have raised over $150,000 for veterans.