KSLA Salutes: Shreveport Mudbugs visit Overton Brooks VA Medical Center

KSLA Salutes: Signing the Stick

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A special hockey stick made its way through the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center on Thursday afternoon.

For the VA’s National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, a few players from the Mudbugs hockey team decided to bring that stick, gather some signatures and visit a few veterans in the process.

You won’t find skates on the feet of a Davis Goukler, Matt Weber, Garrett Steele, and Alexis Girard, but instead tennis shoes.

As these Mudbug hockey players make their way down the hallways of the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center — they’re on a mission, looking for veterans and staff to sign their hockey stick.

Down the stairs and through the halls they went meeting fans, and taking a few pictures along the way.

But for these players, this visit wasn’t about the signatures, but instead a chance to show their appreciation.

“They protect us and that’s something that’s really important for our country and that’s why we’re able to play hockey," Goukler said. "I mean I’m thankful for it and I know all the guys here are also thankful for it.”

For these veterans, this visit means more than they’ll ever know.

“It’s good that we still have outside organizations that support the veterans that are in community hospitals and stuff like that," said veteran 1st Sgt. Gary McMillan. "It’s good to have that and it encourages us and lets us know that we still have some backbone.”

Air Force Veteran Rick Ison not only got a chance to sign this hockey stick, but he’ll also walk away with the opportunity to finally attend one of their games.

“I’m going to take my mom," he said. "I don’t think she’s ever been to a game ever.”

With just a few more hockey games left, the Mudbugs have all the support they need thanks to the VA’s most supportive fans.

“It’s awesome to see everyone really.. .how much they really care about us and how we care about them," Steele said.

“They’re supporting us even though they’re not at every game with us, and I just think It’s a great opportunity for us to say thank you to them," Girard said.

The players also presented free tickets to their games to the veterans they visited Thursday. They plan to take the hockey stick full of signatures and hang it up inside George’s Pond where they play.

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