The Lightning will wear special camouflaged jerseys during pregame warmups tonight as part of "Military Appreciation Night."
The jerseys include a nametag of an honorary service man or woman who will be present during the warmups, either on the team bench of the penalty box. After the warmups, those service men and women will receive the jersey with their nametag.
The Lightning normally auctions off the special jerseys worn during pregame warmups. Assistant equipment manager Rob Kennedy came up with the idea of the nametags and presenting them to those who are honored.
From the team's press release:
The Lightning will honor two distinguished military heroes during a pre-game ceremonial puck drop: Seaman First Class John Tedesco, U.S. Navy (Ret.) and Lt. General William D. Beydler, U.S. Marine Corps Commander.
Seaman Tedesco enlisted in the Navy in 1943 just after his 17th birthday. He served in Pacific theater where his unit was tasked with building a new hospital on the island of Munda to accept casualties for the impending USMC Assaults on Guadalcanal, Munda, Bouganville and the Gilbert Islands. Enemy forces attempted to stop this advancement, and in the ensuing barrage, Seaman Tedesco lost a major part of his hearing.
Lt. General Beydler is a 36-year veteran of the USMC, currently stationed at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. He has logged approximately 4,000 flight hours in tactical jet aircraft. Lt. General Beydler has served in his current position at MARCENT since October of 2015. His many honors include the Defense Superior Service Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal with three Gold Stars.
Also, MSG Cliff Zalay, U.S. Army (Ret.) will play the national anthem on his harmonica.
MSG Zalay, 92, served as an Army infantry soldier during World War II and the Korean War. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and was a member of the Allied forces who liberated Dachau. MSG Zalay still works with Honor Flight, sending fellow WWII veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorial built in their honor.