NASHVILLE, Tenn.―Bridgestone Americas Inc. will extend a special thank you to America's armed forces during the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day.
Bridgestone, the Official Tire of the NHL and the NHLPA, is returning for the sixth year as the title sponsor of the game, where the Chicago Blackhawks will face-off against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 1 at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.
Bridgestone said it can never say thank you enough to those men and women in uniform who make immense sacrifices to protect freedoms while remaining steadfastly committed to their country. This year, the company is hosting 15 members of Hockey Saves Inc., a national nonprofit organization that provides military with a healthy outlet through hockey, as its special guests to the event.
In addition to inviting a group of veterans to watch the game and root for their hometown teams, Bridgestone said it will honor its Hockey Saves guests from Chicago and Washington with a special in-game feature. Additionally, the military members will also participate in a special, private skate session on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic ice. Bridgestone's military outreach efforts will complement a greater program the NHL is planning for the Jan. 1 game.
“Bridgestone has a strong commitment to giving back to the communities where our teammates work and live,” said Phil Pacsi, vice president of sport/event marketing and training at Bridgestone Americas.
“Hosting members of Hockey Saves at this year's event is one small way we are able to show our appreciation for the surrounding community. The men and women of our military exemplify incredible selflessness. They are true everyday performers, and we are proud to host them as our special guests at this year's Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.”
Hockey Saves Inc. brings vets and their families together with civilians over a shared love of hockey. For these servicemen and women, playing hockey is not only physical exercise, but can be a mental respite as well. The program started small in Fort Benning, Ga., to provide soldiers stationed at the local military base with a healthy, active outlet, but has now grown to have affiliates in Pittsburgh; Washington; Chicago and Nashville, Tenn.
"Bridgestone is doing much more than honorably saying ‘thanks,' they're creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our military heroes using the power of the game,” said Jax Andrews, founder of Hockey Saves Inc.
“This is something these vets will remember forever, share with others and keep with them on and off the ice. The transition back to civilian life isn't easy, but hockey seems to help with the adjustment. Thank you to Bridgestone, and all those who support the troops and this great nation."