Alaska Warriors helping disabled veterans through hockey

Anchorage, AK (KTUU) - From the frontlines to the ice rink... this is more than just a team. It's a family.

"It's that one hour a week or two hours a week that we can skate, " team founder Chris Block said. "We don't have to worry about anything else."
"It's a support system outside of the house." former Marine Core corporeal Brad Ross said.

The Alaska Warriors hockey team is entirely made up of disabled veterans. The team started back in September of 2017 after receiving a grant from USA hockey.

"With veterans, suicide rate is fairly high, so the goal was to create something organized where they had a team, a group to come together," Challenge Alaska recreational therapist Brandon Harker said.

"Getting out and transitioning to the civilian world was a little bit tougher," former staff sergeant Bryan Murphy said. "So, finding this and being a part of this gives me a chance to be around all those guys that I know how to be around."
Their motto is not forgotten.. and it's more than just hockey for these men.

"People say, oh you guys are a hockey team but it's not about hockey for us," Ross said. "It's a whole different level. Hockey is just kind of the byproduct of everybody getting together."

With 48 rostered players now, the team hopes to continue to grow and expand throughout the state, including having a team up in Fairbanks at some point.

"Really, what we want, what I hope is that we have a network, we have a place that, a safe place for any veteran that wants to come out to play hockey, to learn hockey," Harker said.

"I just hope they realize that there's a support group out there that may not be advertised all over the place, " Ross said. " It might not be a 1-800 number. This team is all about whoever wants to come out. "

The team recently went up to the National Disabled Hockey Festival in Chicago and took second place out of the entire festival.

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