Adopted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2019 as an official affiliate, the Flyers’ Warriors hockey program has become the gold standard that is being emulated across the NHL by other franchises with interest in sponsoring a Warriors team in their locale. A member of the USA Hockey Warrior program, which provides access to the sport to U.S. military veterans with a VA-certified disability of at least 10 percent, the Flyers Warriors have grown by leaps and bounds over their still-brief existence.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in their first year from creation, the Flyers Warriors won the championship in their competition bracket at the 2019 USA Hockey Warrior classic and received an official celebratory proclamation of Flyers Warriors Day by the City of Philadelphia. More importantly, participation in the Flyers Warriors program grew within a single year from one roster to a Tier 1 roster and a Tier 2 group that has enough participating players to ice three separate squads.
Recently, the Flyers Warriors returned to the ice for games after a series of pandemic-driven cancellations last year, including a fundraising game against the Flyers Alumni Team. That event will be rescheduled in 2021; an announcement with the details is forthcoming soon.
On April 11, 2021, following the Flyers Warriors game in Pennsauken, NJ, against the Delaware Department of Corrections hockey team, Flyers Alumni Association president Brad Marsh presented a $25,000 check from the Flyers Alumni to the Flyers Warriors hockey program. Marsh, who also jointly serves as the head of Community Development for the Philadelphia Flyers organization and as head coach of the Flyers Warriors team, was joined for the presentation by alum Flyers player and alum Lehigh Valley Phantoms assistant coach Riley Cote along with Flyers Warriors trainer and Alum Philadelphia Flyers equipment manager Jim “Turk” Evers.
“The Flyers Warriors program has been life-changing for the veterans who participate — not just in terms of hockey skills but the way they support one another — and my involvement is one of the most personally rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. For whatever I put into it, I get several times as much back from it. It’s an incredible group of men and women. The Flyers Alumni, as an organization and also as individuals, can’t thank all the Warriors enough for their service, their bravery and their commitment. Giving something to help their program’s operational costs feels like the least we can do as an organization to show our gratitude and support,” Marsh said.