Commander, Submarine Group Two

 Norfolk Admirals Visit USS Montpelier
NORFOLK, Va. – While riding the crest of a professional ice hockey record 20-game winning streak, members of the Norfolk Admirals hockey team visited the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765), home ported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. 
A contingent of more than 20 players and administrators from the Admirals, a member of the American Hockey League and an affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, were welcomed onboard the Montpelier by Lt. Cmdr. Marc Kennedy, executive officer, and FTCM (SS) Brian Apfel, chief of the boat, was also there to greet them.
“I am honored to host the Norfolk Admirals and welcome them to our ship,” said Kennedy.  “Many members of the crew are fans of the Admirals and are excited they are doing so well.  It means a lot to the crew to know that such a stellar sports team is interested in the job we do and wanted to tour our ship.  The goodwill emanated from this tour underscores the sense of community existing in Norfolk between the Navy and professional sports teams.”
Left-winger and team captain Mike Angelidis presented Kennedy an autographed hockey stick as a token of the team’s appreciation.
“It means an incredible amount to us to learn what it’s like to be in their shoes,” said Angelidis, a native of Unionville, Ontario.  “There are a lot of Navy and military personnel that live here, making the ultimate sacrifice for us, their country, and the world.   We love doing what we do, so to give back means a lot and shows how thankful we are of the community.”
Center Tyler Johnson echoed Angelidis’ sentiments.
“Giving back to a community, especially a military community means a great deal,” said Johnson, a native of Spokane, Wash.  “The sacrifices our military make on a daily basis give us the privilege to live our current lifes.  We are living our dreams because of them.”
As tour guides, Lt. j.g. Ryan Blankenship and MMC(SS) Eric Barnes,  enjoyed sharing their ship with the Admirals.
“Having prominent members in our community tour this fine warship is a great way to showcase our care about the community we live in,” said Barnes, an avid Norfolk Admirals fan.  “Conversely, it also shows that the community members care about the Sailors in wanting to see what they do on a daily basis. Many people are not aware of the sacrifices our submarine community endures daily.  We take pride as professional Sailors serving in today’s military and protecting our citizens.”
 “USS Montpelier strives to reach out to the area by giving tours and participating in community events,” said Blankenship.  “We enjoy showing them what we are capable of doing and how we live.  Giving them a tour was unique in many ways.  Not only are these men professional athletes, but many of them originated from other countries.  Consequently, I felt like an ambassador for the United States.  They were also gracious enough to give us tickets to an upcoming came.  We appreciate their generosity, and will show thanks at the game.”