PENNSAUKEN TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The City of Brotherly Love is home to the Philadelphia Eagles, 76ers, Phillies, and the Flyers. Now, it’s also home to a team of warriors.
Every Sunday, more than 60 players hit the ice for practice but they’re not your average hockey players. The players are heroes on the battlefield and include Scranton native Robert Senchak who served in the United States Army for 31 years.
Senchak was injured in a combat operation in Iraq and now, he’s a part of the team that serves as an outlet for disabled veterans.
“You get out and you just lose something,” Senchak told Eyewitness News. “Something is missing.”
Senchak joined the team in December of 2018 when the Flyer’s organization joined USA Hockey’s Warrior Hockey Program. In Philadelphia, the league started with only 15 veterans. Today, the roster is big enough to have split the team in two.
“The Flyers support us in ways you could not believe,” Senchak said.
There are two dozen disabled veteran hockey teams in the country. Senchak’s team includes veterans from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
“We have a good mix of people who have played before and people who are new to the game,” said Devon Richio, a Marine Veteran.
Richio served seven years as a sergeant and was deployed twice. He is an ambassador for the Flyer’s Warrior Hockey team which is coached by Charles “Brad” Marsh, a well known retired Canadian hockey player with 15 years in the NHL.
“We’ve played teams from the D.C. area, North Carolina. There is a Pittsburgh team we’ve played a couple times,” said Richio. “We’ve played teams from the F.B.I., Pittsburgh and New Jersey State Police, things of that nature.”
In October, the Philadelphia Flyers Warrior Hockey team won the 2019 USA Hockey Warrior Classic, tier 3, tournament in Las Vegas. They were able to pull that win off less than a year after the team was created.
Senchak, continues to serve off the ice. He is a full time Scranton firefighter and has been on the job for nearly 30 years.
“The second most dangerous job in the world is a firefighter,” he said. “Only second to an activated combat military personnel.”
For those who risk it all, there’s a hockey team for true warriors.
If you are a disabled veteran and would like to join their team or any other team in the country, Click Here for more information.