“It means the world to us to be able to do this for the family and for such a great cause,” said the 16-year-old from Middleton.
Accompanied by his wife, Sue, Steven Hines was presented with a check for the Hines Foundation prior to the game by the St. John’s Prep captains: Derek Osbahr, Brent Murray and Pinho. The entire Eagles’ squad then came over and huddled with the family near the Zamboni entrance at Ristuccia before a thunderous roar from the crowd, and a special jersey similar to the one the players wore with Hines’ old No. 23 hung behind the Prep bench for the duration of the contest.
At game’s end, the royal blue 1980s satin jacket normally given to the Prep’s top performer in a game was instead presented to the Hines family by Hanson.
Steven Hines knew that many of the Prep players had read about Derek on the Internet or had heard stories about his son, but he wanted to relay something more personal to them in his pregame speech.
“I told them a conversation that Derek had with his best friend growing up, Eddie Hill (who played pro hockey in the AHL and ECHL) after he had been in Afghanistan for a few months,” Steven Hines said. “Derek told Eddie that flying in a helicopter getting ready to jump out and surprise the Taliban on a mission was the same feeling he had in the locker room before a hockey game.
“I told the (St. John’s Prep players), ‘You’re lucky to experience that feeling.’”
The elder Hines also spoke of his son’s leadership qualities and what made him a beloved hockey captain and lieutenant. He relayed another story about how his son went back out into the field during heavy fire to retrieve some mortar rounds that were left behind instead of sending one of his soldiers out to do the job.