Stuart, Wheeler take lead on Military Night

BOSTON -- The Bruins are honoring local military members, veterans and their families at "Military Appreciation Night" for the game against the New Jersey Devils, and defenseman Mark Stuart and forward Blake Wheeler each purchased $5,000 worth of tickets to the game, which were given to local military members and their families.

Former Bruin Aaron Ward started what has become a tradition for the team. For Stuart, who took the torch from Ward, and Wheeler, the event is a no-brainer.

“We don’t have a lot of American guys on this team -- I think our team as a whole recognizes what they do -- but it hits a little closer to the heart for us, born and raised in the US,” Stuart said. “We’re in a great position to do this and not a lot of people get the chance to donate money, so to have these people come watch us is great. Like I said the other day, it’s great for the military personnel but also for their families because some of them probably haven’t spent that much time together over the last few years. For them to be able to come to the game together is pretty special I think.”

Wheeler echoed his teammate's sentiment and was more than happy to help out.

“I think it’s really cool seeing as how we’re both Americans. To be able to show our appreciation for what they’re doing overseas for our country is a really cool opportunity,” Wheeler said. “Stuey took the reigns last year and I’m happy to be able do it this year and to help show our appreciation.”

The matter hits close to home for Wheeler, whose late grandfather served in World War II.

“My grandma was really excited when she heard that I was doing this,” Wheeler said. “It’s cool that we’re doing this because pretty much everyone knows someone or has someone that did serve or is serving in the military.”

The Bruins also will be accepting monetary donations for Operation Homefront New England to send care packages to members of the military from the New England area currently serving overseas. A donation of $20 will provide a member of the military with a complete care package. Bruins fans choosing to donate are encouraged to send a note of thanks and support to the soldier receiving the care package and will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win Bruins autographed memorabilia.

The Boston Bruins Foundation will hold a special silent auction of sticks wrapped in camouflage tape that were used by the Bruins players during warm-ups. Following warm-ups, each player will sign his stick, which will then be relocated to Level 4 for the silent auction.

The Bruins Foundation also will be auctioning off autographed camouflage jerseys of Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Tyler Seguin. All of the proceeds will be donated to Homes for Our Troops. Homes for Our Troops is a national nonprofit organization committed to helping those who have selflessly given to our country and have returned home with serious disabilities and injuries since September 11, 2001.

The Bruins pro shop and the Fan Zone shops will be selling Bruins Military Appreciation Night commemorative 'Homes for Our Troops' T-shirts with proceeds benefiting the program. The stores offer 10 percent off with a military ID at all times. In conjunction with Military Appreciation Night, all military will receive a 20 percent discount Monday.