Patriotism and Respect Surround Battlers’ Military Appreciation Night

by Jesse Height

The month of November means the hockey schedule in the Michigan Independence Hockey League is in full swing. Between the practices, games, and Thanksgiving holiday the Kalkaska Battlers and many other teams make it a priority to honor those that have served in the military or are currently serving on Veterans Day.

Andrew Dibble, the team’s owner, served in the United States Marine Corps. Semper Fidelis is the branch’s motto. It means “Always Faithful.” He makes it a point to engage active duty and veterans. The team’s Military Appreciation Night is near and dear to his heart.

“Being a Marine Corps veteran of eight years, it is important to be able to honor service members and veterans along with their families. I personally have been able to experience games like these in professional sports. It is a gesture we can show them how much they are appreciated.”

Dallas Hurd is the Battlers’ goalie. He wears number 33 for the team. Military Appreciation Night is especially meaningful for the netminder as both of his parents served in the military.

“It is important because of the sacrifices they put on the line to serve our country. It is a day that everybody can thank them for giving us a safe place to call home.”

Sean Doyle, the Battlers’ team captain, has a father who served in the Coast Guard. He believes it is important for the community to honor the military.

“Our service members are willing to sacrifice their bodies, mental health, and lives to protect our freedoms and lifestyle. Those families risk losing their loved ones as they defend the values we hold dear. They are putting or have put everything on the line for this country. Military Appreciation Night is special because our service members and veterans get recognized for their sacrifice. Our fans get to honor loved ones and community members. As players we get to play hockey and show our appreciation for those who chose to make that choice.”

Dibble has a special connection with Military Appreciation Night. It transcends comradery.

“Military Appreciation Night is special for everybody. Games like these give a sense of family and belonging for many veterans.”

Hockey is a sport played with dedication, sacrifice, and respect. It is only fitting that the upcoming game will be honoring active duty and veterans. The Battlers will celebrate Military Appreciation Night on November 11, when they face off against the Gaylord Snow at the Kaliseum Recreational Complex. The puck drops at 7:30!