The Green Bay Gamblers hit the ice Saturday night for their annual Military Appreciation Night decked out in camouflaged jerseys and helmets, but the event provided much more than a tribute to the military. After the massive success of the 2014 Military Appreciation Night, an event that raised roughly $20,000 to benefit local military veterans, the club was set to attempt to break the previous year’s record. And after the Gamblers 2-0 victory over the Bloomington Thunder, Green Bay players put their game-worn jerseys and helmets up for auction and, with the support of local businesses, raised over $25,000 for local veterans through Disabled American Veterans. “The event was fantastic,” said Gamblers’ media relations coordinator, Jason Habeck. “We announced 5,777 in attendance, which is about 700 more than last year. It’s in its fourth year and it has just grown each year.”
Habeck said the biggest growth in the event has been the attendance over the past two seasons. At Military Appreciation Night in 2012, the Gamblers announced an attendance of little more than 3,700, which was then considered an excellent turnout. The Gamblers also had a hand in surprising a veteran with a much needed home renovation. Mike Alsteen, who served in the Iraq war, had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after returning home and has needed renovations completed in his home to make it more wheelchair accessible. One of the game’s sponsors, Tundraland Home Improvements, gave Alsteen’s bathroom a $20,000 renovation. Alsteen was
brought onto the ice during the second intermission and shown the video on the scoreboard at Wisconsin’s Resch Center. The club also honored Dick Marbes, a veteran who joined the Air Force in 1955, by naming the Gamblers’ honorary captain for the evening.