Mar 7, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT
Despite its short life span, Compton Family Ice Arena has already garnered a number of rituals that occur at every Irish home game. A highlight video precedes the introduction of the Notre Dame starters, the crowd informally votes for a “fan of the game,” and the band plays the alma mater after the game, to name a few. The arena hasn’t even been in use for a full two years, and it has already established its routine.
But one of the best moments of an Irish home game actually has nothing to do with the game itself, or even the sport of hockey. During a break in the action, Notre Dame honors a military veteran in attendance while presenting him or her with a present from the gift shop. During the presentation, the videoboard displays pictures of the veterans from their time of service.
Last Friday night, during Notre Dame’s 4-3 win over Bowling Green, the presentation was a special one for Irish freshman Steven Fogarty. The honored veteran that night was Admiral William Fogarty, Steven’s father, who was a part of the presentation of the colors for the national anthem.
“I hadn’t seen my dad since Christmas, so it was really nice to see him, even from afar,” Steven said. “I just got the chills a little bit and that feeling down my neck, but it was really cool to see him honored.
“It’s been a while since he’s been called admiral, so it was cool for him, and I’m sure it’s an experience he’ll never forget.”
While on the ice, Steven got a chance to glimpse the presentation, which was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd.
“They put up pictures of him with guys like Ronald Reagan and Colin Powell, which was really cool,” he said. “We have some pictures at home, but to be able to see it on the big screen, that’s pretty special.”
Notre Dame hockey has been heavily involved in events to honor military members this season, raising more than $30,000 to Defending the Blue Line, an organization that helps children of soldiers stay involved in hockey.
“There are so many families that don’t have the economic ability for their kids to play hockey when their dad’s overseas or their mom’s overseas,” Steven said. “I was fortunate enough to be able to play when my dad was out of the military when I was growing up, but I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a mom or dad overseas and not be able to do what you love playing hockey.”
Although Steven got the chance to play in front of his father growing up, last Friday’s game was the first time Admiral Fogarty watched his son play at Compton. Between the Irish victory and the support from the stands, it will likely be a visit he won’t soon forget.
And while this particular veteran presentation had special meaning for the Fogartys, it’s the kind of ritual Steven would like to stay for a long time to come.
“I think it’s pretty special. My whole family has pretty much been in the military. My brother’s currently in the Navy, so any time there’s a military recognition, I’m all for it, and I think it’s really cool,” he said. “Especially the support you get from the fans whenever they do that and to see the whole place stand up is really special. I think it’s a tradition that they should do everywhere.”
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