HASTINGS, Minn. -- The United Heroes League, along with supporters, broke ground in Hastings on Veterans Day for a rink of dreams. The goal is to give military families a place to connect and keep kids active while their parents serve our country.
Marine veteran Jay Busch brought his family to the celebration.
"The toughest thing about being deployed as a member of the military is you're away from your family," Busch said.
The hockey family understands the sacrifice and what a space to connect the community means.
"Knowing families that have gone through it or are going through it just having the network and community come together and do something like this is really special for the kids," wife Verena Busch said.
That's the idea behind building spaces like the rink. United Heroes League focuses on supporting military families and keeping kids active through sports.
"We see kids that are impacted so greatly. Whether it be not being able to participate in sports, or have challenges academically. When you miss a parent they don't sleep well at night, they need activities," UHL's Tom Patnode said.
The rink is poised to be year-round. With a refrigeration system below it to keep the skating surface the right temp.
"I deployed, I went over to Afghanistan and my wife was home and my family back here," said Christopher Linhoff, who served in the Army Reserves.
His sons play hockey. He sees the vision and knows sports can bring people together.
"When you're gone, being able to have your family come out here and enjoy, spend time with other military families that kind of understand what you're going through," Linhoff said.
UHL hopes to pour concrete next week. The goal is to have the rink complete by spring of next year, ready for families. It's part of UHL's campus in Hastings, next to the Heroes Monument, dedicated to those who served and their families.
Learn more about UHL here.
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