Hockey is for Everyone uses the game of hockey to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities. During the month of February, the Wild will celebrate organizations and teams around Minnesota that work to create a greater State of Hockey and exemplify the meaning of Hockey is for Everyone -- providing a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.
In 2008, more than 1,000 miles east of the Twin Cities, a group of patients at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., began playing hockey as they recovered. After some coaches noticed the veterans and helped them organize their practices, the U.S. Warriors organization was officially formed.
Fast forward a few years, and it spearheaded the creation of an independent Warriors hockey team in Minnesota -- made by and for U.S. military personnel.
Wounded, injured or otherwise disabled veterans of the United States Military are welcomed to the team in order to assist with reintegration into civilian life.
The program uses the game of hockey to build camaraderie and a sense of community, as well as a connection to the community that supports participating veterans.
Most importantly, the Minnesota Warriors looks to help its players grow both on and off the ice. Veterans with disabilities from all branches of the military are welcome to join the Warriors, even if they have never played hockey before.
The Warriors also welcome veterans with any kind of disabilities, including amputees and disabled veterans as well as those with mental health issues, such as PTSD, sustained due to combat. Offering both standing hockey and sled hockey, the Minnesota Warriors seek to provide a haven for veterans once they've returned from action and raise awareness of the challenges they face.