• Former National Hockey League and current Team Canada player Tony Currie poses for a photo with Kandahar Hawks player Sgt. Sean M. Sloan, a noncommissioned officer in the 143d Expeditionary Sustainment Command's Materiel Readiness Branch, at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. Team Canada visited KAF on a morale trip for troops.

    U.S. faces Canada in hockey at Kandahar

    Former National Hockey League and current Team Canada player Tony Currie poses for a photo with Kandahar Hawks player Sgt. Sean M. Sloan, a noncommissioned officer in the 143d Expeditionary Sustainment Command's Materiel Readiness Branch, at Kandahar...

  • With Team Canada's Lt. Cmdr. Lorne Hartwell (Royal Canadian Navy) close on his heels, Sgt. Francisco N. Aponte of the Kandahar Hawks (a maintenance noncommissioned officer with the 143d Expeditionary Sustainment Command) chases after the ball in a ball-hockey game against Team Canada March 4. Team Canada, comprised mostly of former National Hockey League players, visited Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, on a morale trip for troops.

    U.S. faces Canada in desert hockey

    With Team Canada's Lt. Cmdr. Lorne Hartwell (Royal Canadian Navy) close on his heels, Sgt. Francisco N. Aponte of the Kandahar Hawks (a maintenance noncommissioned officer with the 143d Expeditionary Sustainment Command) chases after the ball in a...

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan-Sgt. Francisco N. Aponte, 143d Expeditionary Sustainment Command maintenance noncommissioned officer, and Sgt. Sean M. Sloan, 143d materiel readiness branch, played with the Kandahar Hawks ball-hockey team in a game March 4 against visiting Team Canada at Kandahar Air Field (KAF), Afghanistan.

Aponte played hockey for eight years on both high school and college teams. While at Kandahar, he walked up to the rink as people were playing together, and they said they needed another player. "I played with other Americans," said Aponte, "who told me there was a team."

Sloan started playing hockey when he was four years old. His experience of joining the team in Kandahar was similar to Aponte's and happened just one day later. "I jumped in on a practice," Sloan said. "They asked me (at the end) if I wanted to play on the team."

Playing at KAF was a new experience for both soldiers. Sloan said, "I didn't even think they'd have a hockey rink here."

Aponte was also surprised. "You never thought you'd come to a desert and find a hockey team."
Former National Hockey League players comprised Team Canada and were visiting KAF along with the Stanley Cup on a morale trip for troops.

Even though they did not win, both Aponte and Sloan enjoyed their experience of playing against Team Canada.

"It was an awesome experience to play against Stanley Cup winners, Hall of Famers, and NHL record holders," said Aponte.

"That was a great experience," said Sloan. "Opportunities like that are hard to come by."

Spc. Hollyann Greenwood, 143d S1 administration specialist, volunteered to pass out certificates and marble goblets from the local bazaar as mementos to Team Canada after the game on behalf of the Hawks. Greenwood said that Aponte and Sloan are dedicated soldiers and did the best they could.

"Considering the team they played against," she said, "they did really good."

Page last updated Sat March 28th, 2009 at 10:58