NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Disabled veterans are finding solace on the ice.
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Wednesday, a nonprofit hockey team isn’t just an outlet for them to play, it’s giving them purpose.
Twenty-two push-ups remind the more than two dozen disabled veterans that make up the New Jersey Warriors hockey team of the loss that serving our country carries.
Goalie Jimmy Connors did seven combat deployments in the Middle East with the Air Force. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
He told Rozner playing hockey is therapeutic.
“All we can focus on is the hockey game. There’s no judgment. There’s no stress from the military, from the deployments,” Connors said.
So great to FINALLY be back on the ice – even better for our Veterans to be recognized for all they do. Thank You @CBSNewYork and @LisaRoznerTV #VeteransDay #NJDevils @KenDaneykoMSG https://t.co/gSC0IUvTdV
— New Jersey Warriors (@NJWarriorsHC) November 11, 2020
Janelle Lykon was injured when her base in Iraq was mortared. The Air Force veteran now travels two and a half hours from Pennsylvania just to practice with the team at the Prudential Center in Newark.
“Nobody knows what anyone’s rank was and we’re all just teammates,” Lykon said.
Jason Hutchins was injured in a training accident. He served in the Marine Corps and the National Guard.
“They are a little battered and broken, but they’re still at. We all sort of lift each other,” Hutchins said.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the day CBS2 was there marked the first time the team had been on the ice in almost a year.
And as a bonus, New Jersey Devils alums and Stanley Cup champions Grant Marshall and Ken Daneyko hit the ice, too.
“I just love that they love. They are passionate about the game of hockey, even if they’ve never played,” said Daneyko, who debuted with the Devils during the 1983-84 season and played with them through 2002-03.
“This is a chance for them to bond, to realize they can do anything they want to do still,” added New Jersey Warriors co-founder Ted Curtin.
And off the ice they remind each other of that, too, through weekly Zoom meetings.
Sponsors cover the cost of the time on the ice and equipment.
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