In the wake of civil turmoil across the country as a result of the election, the Western States Hockey League’s Springfield Express came up with a solid plan that just might become something that is duplicated across the country.
The team invited Law Enforcement Officers from the Springfield (MO) Police Department to join the Express on the blue line for my daughter Sonia Heisler’s performance of the National Anthem.
Unlike other sports, hockey is simply different. It’s a game that thrives on the word respect. On the ice and in the community, teams are built with that singular purpose in mind. The most successful teams are often also the most respectful.
That level of respect (and really maturity) is displayed during the playing of the National Anthem before just about every game across the continent (yes, both in the United States and Canada). From the National Hockey League to leagues like the WSHL, the anthem is simply one of those sacred traditions.
The funny part of that tradition of honor is this simple fact; Of the 927 skaters and goaltenders who have played at least one game in the NHL this season, 214, or 23.1 percent, were born in the United States.
While athletes from other sports are using the anthem as their personal platform for protest, hockey players are displaying something else entirely.
Hockey is easily the ultimate team sport. In a game where most of the policing is done by the players themselves, such an individual display of classlessness would tarnish the game and everybody who ever played in it…and even for those to follow.
You see, hockey is just different.
After 9/11, people around the country were hugging first responders and the law enforcement community. Just fourteen years later groups like Black Lives Matter are openly advocating the complete disrespect (and even violence) for the police. This has created a dangerous situation for both sides of the argument.
Blue Lives Matter is a pro-police movement in the United States. It was started after the killings of New York Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn, New York, on December 20, 2014, after they were ambushed in their patrol car. Blue Lives Matter was formed in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Like all of us, we all want to go home at the end of the work day, and the law enforcement community wants the same thing.
The staggering number of law enforcement officers shot to death this year is at 58 -- well ahead of last year's 12-month total (35), according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
As for my family and I, we are strong supporters of law enforcement, firefighters, and all emergency responders. My brother, Christopher Heisler, is the founder of the United States Honor Flag, an organization that began as a tribute following the September 11, 2001, terrorists' attacks. The flag serves as a traveling memorial to heroes who lost their lives while serving their communities and country.
Maybe that’s the reason the anthem was one of the first songs my daughter learned (right after Frozen’s Let it Go) when she decided to take singing seriously.
JuniorHockey.com, Blue Lives Matter, and the United States Honor Flag are encouraging hockey teams to invite the law enforcement community to the blue line for every National Anthem. This is an incredible way to show support for these brave men and women while demonstrating to the rest of the world another reason why their Blue Lives Matter too.
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Hockey Group. Stephen and his family spend most of their time in Florida.
STORY LINKS National Law Enforcement Officers: http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/ United States Honor Flag: https://www.facebook.com/USHonorFlag Blue Lives Matter: https://www.facebook.com/pg/bluematters Sonia Heisler on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoniaSingsForChrist National Anthem Video: https://youtu.be/CcckgGPecfw
Author: Stephen Heisler from JuniorHockey.com Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.
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