Most nights for the Bowdoin men’s hockey team, an overtime win against an arch-rival would be considered the highlight of the evening. But on Friday, January 24, several distinguished members of the armed forces took center ice at Watson Arena and borrowed the spotlight from the victorious Polar Bears.
Last fall, led by goaltender Max Fenkell ’15, the Bowdoin men’s hockey team linked up with “Hockey Helpers” to foster a relationship with the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization whose stated mission is to “honor and empower wounded members of the United States Armed Forces.”
“This has been a great experience for me and the entire team over the past few months,” said Fenkell. “We have been fortunate to be surrounded by great people at Bowdoin and in the town of Brunswick who have supported us tremendously with this undertaking.”
Throughout the season, the team has been raising donations through raffle drawings at home games, but the culmination of the effort came on January 24, when the Polar Bears donned camouflage jerseys to raise awareness and funds for the WWP.
The Polar Bears auctioned off the game-worn jerseys and sold replica uniforms, raising their season-long total to over $7,000 — all of which will be donated to the organization. “When I first heard about the event, I was both eager to participate, and grateful that the College was focusing on honoring Veterans and Wounded Warriors,” said Major Adam R. Sacchetti.
“When I found out that a student, Max Fenkell, spearheaded the effort, my enthusiasm went through the roof. Max met with my Marines at our unit during the week, and I was instantly taken with his enthusiasm, honest desire to support Veterans and esprit for both his team and college.”
As part of a special pre-game ceremony, Bowdoin invited Sacchetti to decorate Corporal Steven Noyes, who received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for heroism in combat during a recent deployment to Afghanistan.
It was a moment in Watson arena that will be secured in the special memory vault.” — Bowdoin head coach Terry Meagher
“Being able to honor our colors with fellow wounded Veterans on center ice in front of the home crowd was a humbling and memorable experience,” commented Sacchetti.
“Talking with fans after the ceremony, I had both the feelings of a tight knit community and one that was proud of their students and veterans.”
“It was a moment in Watson arena that will be secured in the special memory vault,” said Bowdoin head coach Terry Meagher.
“I was especially moved by the overwhelming show of appreciation for Corporal Noyes by our students and players from both teams. It’s striking when you think about how close in age they are.”
On the ice, senior Ollie Koo netted the game-tying goal with 33 seconds remaining and first-year Mitch Barrington scored the game-winner 50 seconds into overtime to defeat Middlebury. Fenkell made 18 saves in net to lead Bowdoin to the victory, but it won’t be the action on the ice that he will remember years from now.
“I think everyone who was able to attend on Friday night not only saw a great game,” said Fenkell. “They also saw a small example of what makes the men and women who serve, and who have served, so special.”