NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The crew of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) took a breather Feb. 6 and watched the "hockey team of the fleet," the Norfolk Admirals, take on the Providence Bruins at Norfolk's Scope during the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)-sponsored event, "Ike at Admirals Hockey Night."
The Sailors' hard work has Ike on schedule to leave Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard later this year, and they used this opportunity to relax after months or working long hours.
Crowding into section 217 high atop the Scope, many of Ike's warriors cheered as the Admirals skated to a 2-1 victory over the Bruins. The cheers were not only for the bone-crushing play on the ice, but also for their shipmates who opened the night's events.
Minutes before the match got underway, Ike's color guard gingerly marched onto the ice led by Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Elias Rodriguez, who was flanked by Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class Kwasi Sneed, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Derrick Terry, Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Kenneth Williams and Signalman 3rd Class Sharron Mallette. They presented the colors as Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Will Barker sang the National Anthem. Barker said he wasn't so nervous about singing such a difficult tune as he was about his surroundings.
"[There are] a lot of people here. I just didn't want to fall [on the ice]," said Barker.
Though Barker was working Friday evening, he said he really enjoys performing.
"I love doing this. It's fun, and music is something I love," Barker said.
Ike's contingent at Scope had even more to cheer for as their commanding officer, Capt. Charles Smith, dropped the ceremonial first puck.
Smith said the evening was a well-deserved change of pace for his crew.
"It is a good break for them," Smith said proudly, as he recalled the entire crew's effort through recent months at the shipyard.
After the pre-game festivities came to a conclusion, Smith made his way to his seat among his crew.
The evening's events weren't so much about hockey as they were about Ike's crew letting loose and having a good time.
"I think [getting Sailors out to events such as this] means a lot because in our situation, any time MWR can get the crew out, it's important," said Chief Warrant Officer Bill Jurkowski of Weapons Department. "It is an opportunity to get out and play hard after we have worked so hard."
Jurkowski, who just recently checked aboard, was so excited about the opportunity to have fun with his shipmates, he even brought his children to the game.
"This is the first time I have ever been to a hockey game," said Jurkowski's son, Nick. Adam, Jurkowski's other son, added, "The fights are awesome."
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69.