Calgary Flames forward launches program for military men & women

November 10, 2014

Joe Colborne is accustomed to being swarmed by autograph-seekers and other fans.

They want to meet one of their hockey heroes.

Thing is, the Calgary Flames forward is anxious to meet some of his heroes, too, which is why he’s launched the Colborne’s Forces initiative.

It’s a nice gesture by the 24-year-old, who has purchased a set of season tickets at the Saddledome and will welcome special guests from the Canadian Forces for every home contest. The military men or women will be saluted during the game and then meet Colborne after the final buzzer.

“The thing I wanted is to get them some notoriety for what they do,” Colborne said.

“It boggles my mind how we have kids coming up and want our autograph and stuff, and we’re their heroes.

“Those guys are the real heroes. It doesn’t make sense that they don’t get the notoriety and the fame that they deserve.”

Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. is also supporting the Colborne’s Forces initiative and will donate $500 dollars to the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre for every point that the Calgary-raised forward — currently sidelined by a wrist injury — collects this winter. He has eight so far.

The program was officially announced Monday, but Colborne has been welcoming military guests since the beginning of the NHL season.

His most memorable meeting to date came at the Flames’ first home outing after Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo were killed in separate attacks, two scary incidents that will be on the minds of many Tuesday as Canadians mark Remembrance Day.

“He came down after, and they had told him, ‘Don’t wear your uniform because they’re targeting people in uniform,’” Colborne recalled.

“He said ‘No.’ He was just saying, ‘You know what? I’m not going to let them dictate.’

“That was such a cool moment for me to have him come down, and I was expecting him just to be in street clothes, and he was in full dress …

“It’s people like that who deserve the recognition.”