The Canes' Jamie McBain just couldn't bring himself to parachute out of an airplane at 13,000 feet. Maybe next time, he said. Maybe.
What McBain did do was spend much of Thursday at Fort Bragg. He joined members of Defending The Blue Line -- a charitable foundation based in Minnesota that supports the children of military families -- who are spending a couple of days experiencing every-day life on the base and hosted hockey clinics and charity games for the kids.
"It's something I've never done before and wanted to experience," McBain said today. "I went down and just had an awesome time.
"It was great to get the kids on the ice and have some fun. It's nice to give back to them for all their parents do to support our country."
McBain, a native of Edina, Minn., watched as the rest of the group parachuted out of the plane.
"Everyone jumped but me, so I was the odd one out," he said, smiling. "I got antsy to, especially after seeing how much fun it was.
"To see the professionals, the Golden Knights, come down ... I was talking to the world record-holder who said between 50-yard posts they can go like 95 miles an hour. That's pretty crazy, the things they can do."
McBain, who said he spent much of the day on base hosted by a Green Beret, did experience a parachuting simulator — a virtual reality type exercise that gave him all the sensations of a jump. McBain said he put on goggles, was hooked into a parachute and "landed" on an aircraft carrier at sea.
McBain also had simulated target practice, holding a rifle and "shooting" enemy troops in a jungle through a computer-generated program.
McBain said the base has an ice rink and that he took part in a clinic run by USA Hockey. The defenseman said about 60 kids participated in the clinic and that there was a charity game.
Defending The Blue Line was created in 2009 by a group of Minnesota soliders to "keep the spirit of hockey alive" for the kids of military parents. It provides the kids with hockey equipment, grants and scholarships and availability to hockey camps.
"It was just a great day and fun to be a part of." McBain said.
And if he gets another chance to do some real parachuting?
"Maybe next time I can muster it up enough to get up in the plane," he said, laughing.