SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — This Veteran’s Day, the Syracuse Crunch hockey team is celebrating current and retired veterans by granting free admission to those who have served and their families.
Military appreciation night has been an event every year for the past three decades during the Syracuse Crunch hockey season. Fans and retired veterans like Darryl Sapoff, United States Army, know just how much it means to the community.
“It means a lot,” Sapoff said. “I do a lot a work with the affiliates with the Crunch. I am a warrior leader for the Wounded Warrior Project, so I always try to set up veterans’ games like this to bring veterans in and come watch.”
For many fans, this night gets better every single year. This year, military appreciation night is actually on Veteran’s Day, which does not always happen.
The chief operations officer of the Crunch, Jim Sarosy, has worked for the team for nearly 30 years. He believes that the reason this day gets more special with each year is because of the relationship the team, and the Syracuse veterans community have built.
“We don’t do much in this building without their guidance,” Sarosy, said. “The biggest thing I think they have done for us is just that continuing education of what certain things mean and helping me and my group here, my staff do the best to put them in the right and proper spotlight.”
For Sapoff, there is no spotlight that he wants to stand in because he prefers to lay under the radar. But even after retirement, Sapoff wants to assure the community that even after serving, he still has a big role in the community.
“[I want to] let them know that we’re still here and that we have a job to do. Even though we’re not in uniform anymore, we’re still here to protect and do what we need to do.”