PEORIA — The Peoria Rivermen saluted the army after which conquered the win column Saturday in a feel-good SPHL recreation towards Evansville.
A lot of groups have nights the place they salute the army. However how do the veterans in attendance at these video games really feel about that recognition?
“It reveals the help the Rivermen have for our army branches and I simply love that,” stated Aaron Van Order, an East Peoria native. “It is the flag on the jersey that makes it particular. Each department serves beneath that flag.”
Van Order, 50, has been the Rivermen head scorekeeper for greater than 20 years. He presided over the Rivermen 3-1 victory Saturday earlier than 2,561 at Carver Area.
Van Order was additionally a sergeant within the Marines, deployed a number of instances in help of the Bosnia battle from 1991-98.
Saturday, he regarded on with pleasure as Rivermen gamers skated out beneath spot-lit pre-game introductions sporting particular jerseys depicting the American flag. And so they carried flags representing every department of the army.
Defensman Nick Neville skated out with the Air Power flag.
Winger Mitch McPherson skated out with the Navy flag.
Goaltender Eric Levine carried the Coast Guard flag.
Heart Tanner Hildebrandt had the Area Power flag.
JM Piotrowski skated out with the Marine flag.
Defenseman Zach Wilkie skated out holding the Military flag.
United States Air Power technical sergeant Timothy Ibarra was beneath a highlight as visitor of honor in these ceremonies. 9 new recruits had been sworn into the Air Power in a between-periods ceremony.
Even the opponent had army ties. The Evansville Thunderbolts are named after the P-47 Republic Thunderbolt fighter aircraft that was in-built Evansville throughout World Warfare II.
“That was unbelievable, the entire evening,” Rivermen coach Jean-Man Trudel stated. “We go into arenas all season and listen to the nationwide anthem, and I have been on this nation 20 years now. I really like these tributes.”
On the ice, in the meantime, Rivermen captain Alec Hagaman contributed to the trigger with two objectives, together with an empty-netter with 22.4 seconds left, to ship a victory over an Evansville group that got here in 6-1-0 and undefeated on the street.
Then the gamers stayed round for an public sale of these jerseys, assembly and mingling with Peoria followers, signing autographs. Hagaman’s jersey offered for $700.
“I feel we had an superior evening within the recreation and in all the pieces round it,” Trudel stated. “Nights like this, seeing our guys skating out with flags for the army branches, seeing the ceremonies, it was nice.”
Van Order cherished these jerseys, too.
Two years in the past, after the group wore particular army tribute jerseys, group co-owner Bart Rogers gifted one to Van Order.
“He may inform how a lot I needed one and what it meant to me,” Van Order stated. “I feel the Rivermen are very beneficiant and supportive of our army, our police and particular responders. The group makes an effort to maintain them.”
Van Order’s son, Gage, performed for the junior hockey Peoria Mustangs and went on to develop into a Marine sergeant, based mostly in Beaufort, S.C. He served for six years as we speak is a police officer in Morton.
Gage’s spouse, Lili, was a Marine corporal who was deployed in Japan. Now they reside in East Peoria and just lately welcomed their first youngster.
“Gage needed to maintain serving indirectly,” stated Van Order, now an operations supervisor for Johnson Controls fireplace division in East Peoria. “I used to be the identical method. I knew from the time I used to be just a little child I might go into the army.
“My father was Military, throughout Vietnam. My brother was Navy. Our entire household has folks with army service in it.
“It is what we do.”
Rivermen left wing Paul-Antoine Deslauriers now has three assists in his first three video games. … The Rivermen are 35-6-7 all-time towards Evansville.
Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports activities columnist, and covers Bradley males’s basketball, the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports activities column for pjstar.com. Attain him at 686-3206 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comply with him on Twitter @icetimecleve.
This text initially appeared on Journal Star: Marine scorekeeper watches Peoria Rivermen honor military with a win