Give the Flyers credit for sponsoring the Warriors hockey team, which is composed of players who suffered disabilities while in the military.
And give the Warriors credit for participating despite those disabilities-- some physical, some emotional.
The Warriors, coached by Brad Marsh, a former Flyer who is the NHL team’s director of community development and president of the alumni association, have a minimum of a 10 percent disability from their days in the military.
“We have several guys who are 80, 90, and 100 percent disabled,” said Jim Young, the Warriors’ captain and a Bucks County native who played hockey at Central Bucks East High and Kutztown. “Most of the disabilities we have on the team are more internal than external, but there are plenty of external ones as well. … So if someone is hurting during practice – we have a lot of knee issues, a lot of back issues – we (say), ‘Go have a seat. Sit down and take care of it.’ ”
The Warriors practice every Sunday at the Pennsauken Skate Zone; they are in their first training camp, which is held in Voorhees, and the team will have an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Warriors at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday at 2:30 p.m.
The team got a jump-start last February when the Flyers and the NHL jointly presented it with a $50,000 check to defray the cost of equipment and ice time.
At a news conference Saturday, Flyers icon Bob Clarke presented Young with his captain’s jersey.
Clarke, the captain of the Flyers’ Stanley Cup champions in 1974 and 1975, looked over the Warriors as he posed with them during a team photo.
“You guys are a lot better looking than the Flyers’ alumni,” Clarke cracked.
Young said some of the Warriors are currently playing on the college ranks, and others are just learning the game and have never stepped on the ice before. We really wanted to build ourselves around the idea of inclusion … and teaching them how to play hockey and be ready to play in a game situation.”
Marsh thanked the players for their military service and for “embracing this opportunity” to play hockey. “It’s been wonderful to work with you guys, and the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team is very proud to be associated with you guys.”