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Stuart carrying on tradition started by Ward

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Carrying on a tradition started by former Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward last season, current Boston blueliner Mark Stuart has purchased $5,000 worth of seats for Thursday night's game against the Florida Panthers as part of Military Appreciation Night.

Stuart's contribution to the effort started early this week when he helped Sergeant First Class Robert Hornbrook of the Green Berets buy a suit at Sacks Fifth Avenue in Boston to wear when he drops the first puck at the game at TD Garden.
"It wasn't much of a decision really. I think it's an honor to be able to do that," said Stuart today after the Bruins practiced at Ristuccia Arena. "All those families get to come to the game and having a chance to meet Robert, who's going to drop the puck, it's pretty cool, just to hear the stories and stuff like that. And if I can give them an opportunity to come to a game with his family, he's a huge fan, so I'm getting a lot out of it as well."

Stuart said his grandparents were once involved in the armed forces but that right now he doesn't have any immediate family or friends enlisted. However, he has taken an interest in ensuring those that have served get their due.

"It's just cool to see the kids having fun. You can tell they're so excited to have their mom or dad back from overseas. And to give them a night out to come to a game, a lot of them are big fans, they're from the area, so it's just very rewarding," he said.