AHL Griffins surprise family as father returns from army on Star Wars night

The Grand Rapids Griffins surprised three young children not only by inviting them out on the ice during Star Wars night, but by having their father come back from a 10-month deployment in Africa dressed as a Jedi.

Almost every season, minor league teams throughout hockey use Star Wars as the centerpiece for a theme night. Generally there are characters from the film present, the jerseys can be Star Wars themed and intermission activities can be based on the films.

The Grand Rapids Griffins, however, used Star Wars night to offer up an even bigger surprise for the Headd family. During an intermission, the Maggie Headd and her three children, all between the age of 3 and 6, took to the ice to celebrate with some of the Star Wars characters. While looking the opposite way, one of the characters on ice, a Jedi, approached them, and when the kids turned around, they were shocked to see their father, Joshua:

“It was a lot more emotional than I thought It was going to be,” Joshua Headd told’s Barton Deiters. “Oh, it felt great. I mean, it’s overwhelming.”

READ ALSO:  Hartford looking at upgrades for XL Center – could the NHL come back?

Joshua, a U.S. Army Reserve sergeant, had spent the past 10 months in Africa and away from his children, according to Deiters. The surprise meeting was set up by Maggie, who had the help of the Griffins fan club to make the moment possible. Joshua coming home came as a big surprise to the kids, too, as Maggie said they weren’t expecting their father to be back home for another two months.

Now that he’s home, Joshua said the goal is to take it easy and spend time with his children.

“For the next week it’s just me and them getting caught up for the last 10 months of life that we missed,” Headd told Deiters.