PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Flyers Warriors, a group of hockey-playing disabled military veterans, are finding creative ways to keep the team together during the pandemic. And it’s thanks to their former NHL All-Star head coach.
Right now, we could all use a buddy — or 30. The Flyers Warriors hockey team is keeping spirits high during the COVID-19 outbreak with team workouts via Zoom.
The Warriors were founded in 2018 and are comprised of 60 disabled military veterans across two clubs.
“They had to learn to skate at Scanlan Ice Rink in December 2018. I went to that just to kind of get out there, I haven’t played in a long time. And I loved it,” said former Marine Ed McAvoy. “Regardless of being split up into two teams, we’re still a family. We still bond with each other, stay in touch with each other, and nobody looks up or down on one another based on their ability and what tier they’re playing for.”
Former Flyers defenseman Brad Marsh is the Warriors head coach.
“It really is a great group that we have created within the Flyers Warriors hockey team. And yes, we’re on the ice once a week but it’s become more than that. It’s all about family and what we can do to help each other,” Marsh said.
While they can’t get together on the ice due to the coronavirus, they continue to push each other.
“We went from seeing each other several times a week to not at all,” Marsh said. “I called up Ed and said, ‘I’ve got this idea, can you make it happen?’ And so between Ed and my daughter Madeline, they figured out how to do it.”
McAvoy says the workouts have been much needed during this time apart.
“There was definitely the feeling of a loss, not just with the aspect of everyday life, but with, again, this team. It’s what a lot of us look forward to,” McAvoy said.
In addition, Marsh has been calling on his ex-Flyers teammates to speak with the Warriors as a motivating tactic.
“We’ve had Flyers Hall-of-Famer Mark Howe, Bill Clement, Keith Jones, Todd Fedoruk, We had Dave Brown on the other night,” McAvoy said. “It’s just amazing to be able to spend time with these individuals and really get to know them and feel like we’re not only part of the Flyers organization but the Flyers family.”
But on Sundays, they work out and the Warriors invited CBS3’s Pat Gallen to be part of the fun for a day recently.
“This has been a big motivating factor for everybody on the team to stay healthy, hold each other accountable and make the best of a bad situation by improving our lives,” McAvoy said.