The Marines took center stage – or center ice - during the Chicago Wolves Armed Forces Night recently at the All-State Arena here.
To date, RS Chicago has generated 126 positive responses from its recruiting efforts at Wolves games, 24 of which came from the Armed Forces Night alone.
“Based on demographics – young, single, hardworking, blue-colored – it’s an absolutely incredible fit. A lot of Wolves fans are potential Marines, and with the Marines’ presence, it just a natural fit,” said Ryan McDonald, a Chicago Wolves sponsorship sales executive. “Every single time the Marines are here, there’s that large crowd that hovers around the pull-up bar. The Marines do such an incredible job of marketing that and the response has been pretty incredible.”
“Armed Forces Night was a way to show our appreciation for everything the military does,” said Ryan McDonald, a Chicago Wolves sponsorship sales executive.
The two-time American Hockey League Turner Cup champions’ military-themed evening included a ceremonial puck drop by Maj. Lance A. Jackola, commanding officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Chicago, who made his way onto the ice in his Blue Dress ‘A’ uniform for the ceremonial puck drop between the team captains of the Chicago Wolves and Houston Aeros.
During the second intermission, three Marines from the Chicagoland area made their way center-ice with one of the famous Marine Corps red pull-up bars: Gunnery Sgt. Brian P. Deiters, a canvassing recruiter from RSS Chicago Heights; Sgt. Joshua A. Ritch, a canvassing recruiter with RSS Mount Prospect; and Cpl. William Henton, with 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment.
The three Marines, clad in black recruiting T-shirts, desert camouflage utility trousers and desert combat boots, put on a show of strength and muscular endurance as they competed against each other in a pull-up competition.
Although other branches of the armed services were present for the Armed Forces Night, “Oo-rah” and “Semper Fi, Marine” were often heard in passing from Wolves fans to Marines throughout the All-State Arena concourse, and by the popular Marines recruiting booth.
The relationship between the Marines and Chicago Wolves has strengthened throughout the 2007-2008 season. The Wolves teamed up with the Toys For Tots Foundation for several toy drives in late 2007, while also supporting the cause through print signage, in-arena advertisements and televised announcements, as well as donation drop boxes located at every entrance throughout All-State Arena at four Wolves games in December.
Recruiting Station Chicago has presented the national and Marine Corps colors at several games during the 2007-2008 season and has also set up recruiting booths inside arena during four Wolves games.