United Heroes League, NHLPA announce winners of 2022-23 All-Star Hero campaign
The four winners were selected as special guests of the NHLPA for the 2023 Honda NHL® All-Star Weekend.
In recognition of their heroic service, Army Sergeant Josie Benford, Army Master Sergeant Josh Bowers, Canadian Forces Warrant Officer Shawn Keenan and Army First Sergeant Michael Taylor were selected as special guests of the NHLPA for the 2023 Honda NHL® All-Star Weekend
TORONTO/HASTINGS, Minn. (Jan. 27, 2023) – The United Heroes League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association have announced the four winners of this year’s All-Star Hero campaign, which recognizes military personnel and their families for their service through the players’ NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund. Army Sergeant Josie Benford, Army Master Sergeant Josh Bowers, Canadian Forces Warrant Officer Shawn Keenan and Army First Sergeant Michael Taylor will each receive a once-in-a-lifetime 2023 Honda NHL® All-Star Weekend experience with a guest.
The four service members, of an estimated 5,000 submissions, were selected for their inspiring dedication and actions by the UHL after the public was asked to nominate their military hero’s service story.
Sergeant Josie Benford of the United States Army
Sergeant Josie Benford, of Long Beach, California, served two tours in Iraq during her 15 years of service in the United States Army. After beginning her career in the Alabama National Guard, she progressed into active duty, which included stops in Korea and Germany. She overcame many challenges to rise to the rank of Sergeant in the Army. Sergeant Benford will be attending the weekend’s festivities with her son, Jason Gray.
Master Sergeant (Ret.) Josh Bowers of the United States Army
Master Sergeant (Ret.) Josh Bowers, of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, served 21 years in the United States Army. Much of his time was served as a Green Beret. Included in his many awards are the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. His deployments included multiple tours in Iraq and Syria among other places. Master Sergeant Bowers will be joined in Florida by his son, Cade.
Warrant Officer Shawn Keenan of the Canadian Forces
Warrant Officer Shawn Keenan, of Oromocto, New Brunswick, has served in the Canadian Forces for 21 years. During this time, he has served multiple tours in Afghanistan, Haiti and Iraq. In 2017, after his wife, Natalie Pye-Keenan, suffered a traumatic brain injury during her own pre-deployment training, Warrant Office Keenan put his career on hold to assist her during her intense rehab. Warrant Officer Keenan will be attending the weekend’s festivities with his daughter, Emilee.
First Sergeant (Ret.) Michael Taylor of the United States Army
First Sergeant (Ret.) Michael Taylor, of Assonet, Massachusetts, served 21 years in the United States Army, with 20 years on active duty and multiple deployments. After starting as a Field Artillery Radar Operator, he later served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. Included in his awards are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (4), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (2) and the Navy and the Marine Corps Achievement Medal. First Sergeant Taylor will be joined in Florida by his son, Chase.
For full details on each of the four service members, click here to read their profiles on NHLPA.com.
The 2023 All-Star Hero campaign
With NHLPA Goals & Dreams now in its 23rd season, the All-Star Hero campaign has returned for a third year. Each of the winners and their guest will receive air travel to Florida for the chance to meet and interact with players in the NHLPA All-Star Lounge at the 2023 Honda NHL® All-Star Weekend. Tickets to NHL All-Star Skills and the NHL All-Star Game will also be provided, along with hotel accommodations, ground transportation and other prizing.
Track #YourAllStarHero on social media and follow @NHLPA on Twitter or Instagram for the behind-the-scenes experience of these heroes over the course of the 2023 Honda NHL® All-Star Weekend.