Warrior for Life Fund Joins Forces with USA Sled Hockey & NHL Alumni in Virginia Beach
The Warrior for Life Fund, the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team, and the Boston Bruins Foundation collaborated to organize a sled hockey exhibition game at the Iceland Family Skating Center in Virginia Beach. The event aimed to celebrate the courage and resilience of Paralympians and veterans. The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team, fresh from their fifth gold medal victory, showcased their talent in a friendly match against the Warrior for Life Fund sled hockey team and former Boston Bruins players. Beyond competition, the focus was camaraderie and fostering a sense of belonging within the armed forces community. Notably, a significant portion of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team comprises medically retired veterans, emphasizing the team’s strong connection. The event allowed veterans to experience the team dynamic reminiscent of their military service, fostering camaraderie and competition in adaptive sports.
“It’s not all about competition. It’s really just more about camaraderie and coming back together and having that same locker room sense which is kind of the same feeling we have when we’re in the military and we do deployments and we have our partners and brothers around us all the time,” said Warrior for Life Fund CEO Ryan Croley.
Of the 17 names on the roster this season, 7 of them were former military. Declan Farmer, a two-time Paralympic champion, three-time world champion, and ESPY Award winner who has been with Team USA for 12 seasons, says the military presence has brought the team closer. “If they’re still learning to cope with their disabilities, they get to interact with someone like me who has always had a disability and maybe that changes their perspective a little bit,” said Farmer. “We see what they’re going through and just have a stronger appreciation for people who serve our country so I think that mesh is what’s really cool about all Paralympic sports.”
Medically retired veteran Logan Brokaw who currently plays with the Warrior for Life Fund, says it also provides a sense of brotherhood veterans experienced during their time in service and a way for them to stay competitive in sports.”Something that is big in the military is that team dynamic and team atmosphere and that can kind of go away after service so a lot of veterans kind of crave that and get away from it and getting back into something like this definitely scratches that itch.”
Warrior for Life Fund’s Sled Hockey Program comprises a group of mentors and athletes committed to promoting camaraderie, competition, and athleticism to those with disabilities. Our goal is to introduce the game of hockey for those in the Hampton Roads military community who are unable to play stand-up hockey. The program seeks to develop a team atmosphere and a positive environment for mentors and athletes who want to learn to play hockey. There are no physical limitations to joining the team, but it requires a strong work ethic, dedication, and a positive attitude.