Oilers player Matt Hendricks says being raised by a military father helped to make him into the disciplined athlete he is today.
Hendricks' father, Cpl. Douglas J. Hendricks, served in the United States Marine Corps in the 1970s.
"Discipline was a big thing in my household as a kid," Matt says, in a video on Oilers TV. "Looking back, I think it's actually really helped propel my hockey career.
"Just in the terms of training, taking care of my body, understanding that the game’s a process... with discipline comes success."
Hendricks said his dad always did whatever he could to steer him away from the military, and even though he thinks he would do the same with his own children, he still has the utmost respect for those who have served. He added that if they do choose the military, he'd be "very supportive."
"The men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces, in the American Armed Forces, in my opinion gave the ultimate sacrifice ... to lose their lives for our freedom."
The Oilers visited CFB Wainwright on Oct. 6 to participate in some team-building, while learning about the military. The players swapped their uniforms for fatigues, and participated in different exercises — everything from obstacle courses to driving tanks.
Hendricks said the experience gave him a whole new perspective of how much team-work matters in the armed forces.
"I can only imagine how intense it must be during the real fight," Hendricks said, after firing a tank gun. "I get a little overwhelmed every time I do something like this."
Defending the Blue Line
Hendricks is also a supporter of Defending the Blue Line, a non-profit that helps the children of military members play hockey. It's an organization that provides free hockey equipment, grants and training camps for children of active duty members and veterans, as well as opportunities for families to attend NHL games.
Hendricks joined the organization on a trip to Afghanistan in 2012. He said the experience was hard and he learned a lot about the challenges men and women in the military face.
"We see all the commercials on CNN and all of the news clippings but it doesn't do it justice."
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