Over President’s Day weekend, a group of Coast Guard Veteran’s from across the United States congregated in Lakewood, Colorado, dominating the ice as part of the Navy Federal Credit Union Veteran’s Showcase. The tournament was in conjunction with the annual outdoor NHL Stadium Series Game, with this year's event taking place at Falcon Stadium on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy. Colorado Avalanche General Manager and hockey legend Joe Sakic said, "We are grateful for the chance to honor our military and our local U.S. service academy with a special event." Representing the Coast Guard Hockey Organization, the 14 Coast Guard Veterans went undefeated, finishing with a 3-0 record in the round-robin event. Adding to their showing, skaters from the team took the top three spots in the fastest skater competition during the skills contest held on the outdoor ice at Falcons Stadium. While it was the first time this team had played together, it did not take long for the players to gel both on and off the ice. “Once you get into a group of veterans, you become a family instantly.” Said Coast Guard veteran Jayson Franceschini. In May, Franceschini graduates from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Criminal Justice and jumped at the chance to represent the Coast Guard once again.
Dozens of teams applied to be part of the tournament, with all expenses covered by Navy Federal. The four picked were chosen based on not just their hockey skills, but how they use their service to give back to the communities in which they live. The other teams selected to participate were the USA Warriors, Dallas Warriors, and Tampa Warriors. The veterans, representing all five branches, were given the royal treatment consisting of motorcoach transportation all-weekend, tickets to the Stadium Series Game, and an opening banquet featuring keynote speakers Lou Vairo, former NHL coach and head coach of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, and Brian Boucher, a 13-year NHL veteran, and current NBC and NHL Network TV Analyst.