NHL hockey team honors NC soldier fighting to allow troops ability to sue for malpractice

A Florida hockey team is getting results for Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal.

As FOX 46 has reported for more than a year, the North Carolina Green Beret, and decorated war hero, is fighting – to change the law, and for his life. He is battling stage IV lung cancer.

“Tampa Bay please join us in saluting US Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal,” the announcer at Monday’s Tampa Bay Lightning game said.

For everything Stayskal has done for our country and continues to sacrifice, this was a chance to say thank you and honor his life and legacy of service. The Lightning honored Stayskal and highlighted his fight to overturn the Feres Doctrine and allow soldiers the right to sue the government for medical malpractice, following his own botched care case in 2017.

“[He] is petitioning Congress to approve his Medical Accountability Act to improve healthcare for military members and families,” the announcer told the crowd.

Monday’s theme was “Hockey Fights Cancer.” The team celebrated cancer survivors and raised money for Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, where Stayskal receives treatment. FOX 46 caught up with him two weeks ago as he was receiving treatment.

“Between going through treatments, I got a family, a wife and two kids, work, going to DC, so it’s, sorry,” Stayskal said, pausing, with tears in his eyes, “it’s challenging.”

Surrounded by two American flags, his wife, Megan, and two daughters, Stayskal was presented with a black commemorative Lightning jersey by Stanley Cup champion and Hall of Famer Dave Andreychuk.

The ceremony took place on the same day that Stayskal’s attorney, Natalie Khawam, learned a bill named after Stayskal will be included in the National Defense Authorization Act. If signed into law, it would allow active-duty military the ability to seek legal recourse and be compensated for medical malpractice not related to combat or training.

“We thank you Richard, your family and all troops for your sacrifice and service,” the announcer said.

“The Lightning are proud to recognize Sgt. 1st Class Stayskal during tonight’s Hockey Fights Cancer game,” the team said in a statement. “We wish him the best of luck as he continues his fight against cancer and enemies of the United States.”

Stayskal was unavailable for comment.

“Thank you Tampa Bay Lightning and Moffitt Cancer Center for all that you do for cancer and our military,” his attorney, Khawam, said. “We were honored to be part of your cause!”

Khawam said Stayskal is “responding positively” to his cancer treatment.

This story was reported from Charlotte, N.C.