Generals to hold pregame ceremony honouring veterans
WWII Veteran Nick Melnechuk lays a wreath down at the Lacombe Cenotaph at a candlelight tribute. Melnechuk will be among veteran guests at the Lacombe Generals' pregame ceremony Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
One “Army” will honour another this Saturday.
For the first time in the city, the Lacombe Generals will pay tribute to men and women who have served with a pre-game ceremony and appreciation night as they host the Innisfail Eagles at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex.
Given the Generals’ loose association with the military, from the team name to the way they battle it out on the ice, Generals General Manager Jeff McInnis says it’s appropriate for the team to commemorate Remembrance Day.
“We call our ourselves “the Army,” we call our members soldiers. They’re used loosely in comparison to real terms but there are similarities,” he said. “We like to think we’re an important piece in the fabric of Lacombe, and we said when we came to town we would do these things so it’s more than just a hockey game - it’s a chance for our town, our community to be together.”
Prior to puck drop at 8 p.m., the ceremony will be MC’d by Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins. Special guests, including WWII veteran Nick Melnechuk and Gregg and Candy Greff, the parents of the late Master Cpl. Byron Greff who was the last Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan, along with members of the Lacombe Legion will be in attendance and a ceremonial puck drop will take place.
The hope is that it will offer Lacombe residents another chance to reflect and recognize the sacrifices of others.
“Not everyone goes to the ceremonies, but maybe we can get some people at the hockey game that wouldn’t have gone and make sure they’re paying their respects and being apart of something,” McInnis said.
“It’s hard for young people to understand - it’s pretty wild that in 2017 we’re still fighting for rights and freedoms and I think our team can be a bit of a tool to help commemorate Remembrance Day for the city and make it as much of an annual event as we can.”
The Generals also host the Stony Plain Eagles on Friday, Nov. 10, travel to Rosetown on Nov. 18 before returning home Nov. 24 to host the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs.