Hockey Day Minnesota in Kuwait: Most fun hockey game ever

A floor hockey game takes place at a military base in Kuwait.

Courtesy: Jamie Hersch via Twitter

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — What a day! I learned so, so much about the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade and their mission here and I now have even more respect for these men and women, their service and sacrifice.

Life is pretty rustic on the base but you never hear a word of complaint. In fact, everyone I met was all smiles; they are so friendly and eager to help answer any questions we have.

The highlight of the day was watching the troops face off in a game of floor hockey. Members of the 34th CAB spent countless hours of their free time over the last week constructing a rink using whatever scrap materials they could find, and it’s located right in the hangar with a few Blackhawk choppers.

These guys were ready to play some hockey! Former Gopher and North Star Bill Butters decided to ref the game and had one of the quotes of the day when he said, "I hate two things in life: dandelions and referees. Now whaddya know? I’m a ref."

We all got a real kick out of watching them play. Every time someone scored, a legit Army marching band played a fight song in celebration. Perhaps nobody enjoyed it more than Dave Brooks, Herb’s younger brother, who said this was the most fun hockey game he’d ever watched (and that’s saying something).

We even had an appearance by the Hanson SISTERS (re: "Slap Shot") — three young women who all wore Hanson jerseys and started "fighting" when they got in the game. I’m telling ya, these guys went all out to make this the funniest, most entertaining hockey game ever.

The white team dominated the blue team, 15-6. One guy, Sgt. Aron Vonzel, scored FOUR goals.

One of the more comedic points of the game was when Dave Brooks got hit by an errant puck (FYI the "pucks" are rubber balls). It actually popped him pretty good just above his eye and even drew some blood, but he could not stop laughing. He said it took him back to his playing days and thank goodness it wasn’t his teeth, since he’s had enough dental work done for 10 lifetimes.

Two other moments stand out from the game. First, it was incredibly powerful to hear the national anthem right before they dropped the puck. Nothing cooler than singing about freedom while you’re surrounded by the people who fight for it on a daily basis.

The second unforgettable moment came after the game. Dave Brooks grabbed the microphone to thank the troops, and then he started singing "God Bless America." Everyone chimed in, and before long there were about 100 troops, along with the 10 of us, singing in unison about our great nation. Definitely a goosebumps moment, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one blinking away tears.

More than anything, I know I speak for all the other visitors when I say I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for what these men and women do for all of us. Seeing their lifestyle, their work ethic, their attitude. . . it’s amazing. I’m so excited for everyone to see part of our experience on Hockey Day Minnesota. Tune in Saturday for the highlights of the floor hockey game and MUCH more.

FOX Sports North’s Jamie Hersch will be blogging from Kuwait during Hockey Day Minnesota. Find all of her entries here.