MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As Officer Arik Matson remains hospitalized, support continues to pour in for his family.

Matson was shot earlier this month while responding to a call of a suspicious person in a neighborhood in Waseca.

Now, the Waseca boys and girl’s hockey teams are dedicating their seasons to the officer.

“Hopefully we can bring some light in a good way to what these phenomenal officers do for us on a day to day basis,” Jim Kilpatrick said.

In the middle of a hockey season the Waseca boys and girls teams are changing jerseys. The goal of winning is taking a back seat to the message they’re spreading.

“For us, in a situation like this it’s bringing a full experience to it and making awareness for a tragic situation,” said Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick works for Gemini Athletic Wear of Edina which is donating the uniforms so that when the teams take the ice, there’ll be no mistake about who they’re playing for.

Officer Matson’s name will be on the back of the new jerseys. And on the front will be a blue line for law enforcement, his badge number, and a picture of Officer Matson with his daughters.

It’s a change law enforcement near and far, approves of.

“We are all police officers just trying to defend our communities. When one of us goes down it touches close to home,” said Officer Mike Seeger of the Edina Police Department.

“To be honest with you, a little bit awestruck. The initial reaction is that the kids are going to think this is an unbelievable thing,” Chris Storey said.

Storey is the head coach of the Waseca Boys Hockey team. He said when he talked to his team about the jersey change, every player was on board.

“These are 16, 17, 18-year-old kids. It gives them an opportunity to support something that’s bigger than them as well,” Storey said. “We support the people who support us and we want to do what we can to help this family out.”

After the season is over, the team will auction off the jerseys and donate the proceeds to Officer Matson’s family.

“Don’t take for granted the people around you. He’s a part of our community. He’s a DARE officer, he pops into our arena. It’s easy to walk past people and not realize they are bigger to you than you could possibly imagine,” Storey said.

Gemini Athletic Wear will also be creating an online store for anyone who wants a jersey. All the money from the jersey sales will go towards the Matson family.

John Lauritsen

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