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Hockey jerseys destined for troops in Afghanistan

A pair of Waterloo Wolves jerseys will see action on a very different kind of hockey rink soon: one with no ice and sweltering temperatures that reach 50 degrees Celsius.

The Wolves are sending the jerseys to Afghanistan, where Canadian soldiers spend their free moments playing ball hockey on the Kandahar airfield.

The Wolves AAA Midget team is teaming up with Hero to Hero, a program that matches emergency services personnel and sports teams with Canadian troops serving overseas.

The program started in the United States with emergency workers, who collected shirts with their city or platoon logo and sent them overseas. The Wolves got on board after Sandi Henning met Canadian coordinator Kevin McHarg at a fundraiser.

Henning said the players were enthusiastic when she broached the idea to them.

“They were totally on board with it. It was really nice to get such a positive response.”

The Wolves are sending a pair of team jerseys autographed by the team and 20 Wolves T-shirts donated by RH Imprint, each signed by a player. They’re also contributing 20 tennis balls for ball hockey games and a banner signed by players, coaches and the public. The City of Waterloo is contributing pins, and Piller’s is donating 20 cases of its popular Pepstix.

Henning said the players, ages 16 and 17, were behind the initiative from the start.

“They’re such community minded-kids,” she said. “It didn’t totally shock me that they wanted to do this, but their enthusiasm was nice to see.”

A large part of the Wolves’ roster is made up of players from Waterloo but the team has players from Wellesley, Hawkesville, Heidelberg, Drayton, Fergus and Elora.

The items will be handed over to representatives of the armed forces and Hero to Hero at the Wolves’ home game Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at RIM Park.

The banner will be on display at Wolves’ home games between now and Jan. 25 for people to sign.

“We want as many people out on the 25th as we can, from Timbits to seniors, to sign the banner,” Henning said.

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