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Veterans honored at the Warrior Hockey National Championships opening ceremony

By Jack Williams, 04/13/24, 1:30AM EDT


WAYNE, N.J. — Attendees of the inaugural Warrior Hockey Championships gathered at the Ice Vault in Wayne, N.J., united in a mission to honor our veterans and celebrate the sport of ice hockey. As one of USA Hockey’s disabled disciplines, Warrior Hockey gives injured and disabled U.S. military veterans an environment where they can play and enjoy hockey.

On Friday, the 750 veterans in attendance took a break from their games for an opening ceremony in their honor, which featured a rousing performance by the Passaic County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, who were accompanied by the West Point Honor Guard, followed by a rendition of the National Anthem sung by a member of the New Jersey state police. Attendees were then presented with speeches from New Jersey State Senator Kristin Corrado and former New Jersey General Assembly member Jack Ciattarelli.  “I thought it was beautiful,” commented AAHA Disabled Hockey Representative Alex DePalma, “I thought the bagpipes were terrific. With all the vets out there, it was very patriotic and moving.”

The festivities were not all ceremonial, however. There was plenty of time for fun and games too, as attendees were treated to food, drinks and live music. It was a reminder to all in attendance that hockey is not just a game for these players, but a way of unwinding and coping with stress. 

“I think the ceremony went great. Everyone is enjoying their time here,” said Manager, Disabled Hockey Brandon Beaver. “That is how we want the tournament to be. We do not just want to make it about hockey, we want them to have a good time as well.”