Flyers Warriors to host 2021 USA Hockey Warrior Classic

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The Philadelphia Flyers Warriors are aiming for a hat trick this weekend when they host the 2021 USA Hockey Warrior Classic with 27 teams from across the United States spread across seven levels based on their playing abilities. Each team is made up of men and women with disabilities who are veterans or serving members of the military.

The matches will be held at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, New Jersey, and Hollydell Ice Arena in Sewell, New Jersey from November 5-7. The Flyers Warriors will have Tier 1, Tier 4, and Tier 7 teams. All matches are open to the public and free to play. The full schedule is available here (usahockey.com/warriorclassic).

The first day of Friday’s games will be marked by a Salute to Service game between the Flyers Warriors and the Colorado Warriors which will have a puck presentation ceremony with former Flyers John LeClair, Paul Holmgren and Mark Howe.

“We will have 450 disabled veterans more or less in town this weekend,” said former Flyers defenseman Brad Marsh, who will coach the three Flyers Warriors teams that will compete in the tournament. “So it’s going to be a wonderful weekend. Lots of good hockey, and the good thing is hockey is at different levels of ability, from just learning the game to thinking they are one step away from the NHL. “

The Flyers Warriors program was launched with a joint donation of $ 50,000 from the NHL and the Philadelphia Flyers in February 2019 as part of the NHL Stadium Series Legacy Project.

Growth since then has been exponential.

“It seemed like every week a new face appeared, one or two faces, really,” said Tim Wynn, a forward who has been with the Flyers Warriors since their inception. “We’ve kind of reached a point now where everyone knows us. We’re still getting people, but I would say for the first 24 months of this thing, we’ve had people consistently showing up. And they stayed. , which is the most important thing. “

The support of the Flyers was also important. Marsh and fellow Flyers alumnus Bob Kelly coach the team, train at the Wells Fargo Center and wear the Flyers logo on her uniforms.

“The number one thing that we… insisted on from the start, when we started the team, we were in the Flyers locker room,” said Marsh. “I said welcome to the team, you are now part of the Flyers organization. Every player at a T takes their representation of the Philadelphia Flyers organization, the former Flyers organization very seriously. of Philadelphia and they act accordingly. “

Wynn said this serious approach is the reason the Flyers Warriors have grown and succeeded.

“I think internally, within the program, it’s such a success because in a way it’s almost military,” he said. “We run it like the military and we’re familiar with it. Our team captains are in a way what we knew as team leaders in the military, so it works. We know how to do it. We know how to be a group and work together. It’s just special. It takes us back to when we were in the military. “

Marsh said that while the on-ice game has grown since 2019, it is this off-ice experience for the players that has been the most important part of the Flyers Warriors.

“There was a certain connection when these players were deployed, and now they have a certain connection,” he said. “It’s a little different but the connection is still there. Now they share the locker room. The wives are a wonderful group. They also have their own little group that meets very, very regularly. And now the wives also have a link they can share with other brides.

“And then you go further, it’s the kids. We’ll have a tailgate party after practice or after a game and before you know it there are five, six barbecues set up, there are tents set up. , there are parking games, there are children’s parks there, the kids run around, the kids know each other. There are birthdays, weddings, babies being born. That’s really what we do. we created. We just use hockey to improve a situation. “

Wynn hopes the Flyers Warriors hosting the 2021 Warrior Classic is more than a one-time event.

“It has always been our goal, to organize a great tournament,” he said. “And to host not only a great tournament, but the best tournament. I don’t think that in the future USA Hockey or the players, the more than 400 players who come here, will want to go somewhere else after that. I do think so. we did it so well. “

Tweet from @NHL: The Philadelphia Flyers Warrior hockey team is dedicated and made up of wounded and disabled veterans of the US Army. #HockeyisForEveryone Help support Warrior Hockey across the country by visiting https://t.co/bjCgMyflPG pic.twitter.com/7ldThQukfy



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