by Lt. j.g. Garry Ferguson
photo by Sgt. Randall Clinton,
Marine Corps Public Affairs Office NY
Five Sailors assigned to USS Helena (SSN 725) participated alongside service members from all branches of the military in honoring the nation during pregame ceremonies at the NHL Winter Classic on January 1st. The event was seen by 38,112 fans at Fenway Park and approximately 5.6 million television viewers.
Helena Sailors donned their dress blues for the occasion and were treated to seats near the visitor’s bullpen after their pregame obligations were complete.
Military representatives held lines securing the display of the US and Canadian flags draped over the “Green Monster.”
Sonar Technician Second Class Brian Lake commented on the experience saying, “It was an honor to represent our country and the submarine force in front of millions of people.”
Initially it seemed to be a tall order for the third annual outdoor hockey match to live up to the pregame hype and the iconic venue, Fenway Park, where it was hosted, but the game did not disappoint. It turned out to be an overtime thriller with the Boston Bruins securing the win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the extra period, 2-1.
Chief Machinists Mate Mike Haraburda simply iterated, “It was awesome! I was thrilled to be a part of it.”
The outdoor hockey concept is relatively new to the NHL, despite many players having been brought up playing outdoors on frozen ponds and lakes. Although fairly novel, the event has proven to be extremely popular among hockey fans since its inception, selling out each time with tickets disappearing in less than a day after becoming available.
Since landing in New England in September of last year, Helena Sailors have participated in a number of community and volunteer events providing first-class representation for their command, the U.S. Navy and the country.
Helena, a Los Angeles-class submarine named after Helena, Montana, was commissioned on July 11, 1987. Her motto is “Proud and Fearless.”