Jersey’s Warriors To Visit in February

Jersey’s Warriors To Visit in February

By TED MEBUST

COOPERSTOWN – The New Jersey Warriors, a hockey team composed of disabled U.S. military veterans, are set to visit Cooperstown from February 17-19. Hosted by the American Legion, a benefit will be held on the team’s behalf at VFW Post 7128, 60 Main Street, on that Friday evening. After a police escort from their hotel, the team will enjoy catering from area businesses including Council Rock Brewery, Brewery Ommegang, and Chobani, and an auction will take place with the proceeds going to the Warriors. On Saturday, the group will get a tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and then play a game at Badger Park at noon, inviting all community members to join them on the ice.

“It should be a fantastic event,” said Barry Shelley, the team’s local contact who has been a longtime hockey fan, even setting up a small ice rink in the attic of his Fly Creek home.

“Saturday is mostly just a fun skate, so if people want to come down, meet the veterans and skate with them, they are welcome to,” Shelley said.

Shelley explained that his involvement with hockey while serving in the Air Force had been a very helpful outlet for him. From the connections he made during that time, as many as 100 veterans from across Maine, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Ohio and Ottawa, Canada will come to Cooperstown to meet with the Warriors next month, he said.

The New Jersey Warriors hockey program is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing rehabilitation opportunities for wounded veterans from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Founded in 2019 and affiliated with the New Jersey Devils, the team plays at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Warriors compete in regional and national tournaments across the country, most recently in St. Louis, and are led by President Mark Puttenvink and Executive Vice President Ted Curtin.

“Our mission is simple: to provide a therapeutic community for veterans…at the end of the day, it’s about the community,” said Puttenvink, a former strength and conditioning coach for various professional teams, who founded the team and organizes their charity events and activities.

Puttenvink said that in addition to the Cooperstown events, the team will catch a Utica Comets hockey game on Saturday night, another New Jersey Devils team affiliate. They will be accompanied throughout the weekend by a film crew from Montclair State University.

To learn more about the New Jersey Warriors and to support their mission, visit njwarriors.org.


3 thoughts on “Jersey’s Warriors To Visit in February

  1. Billy Hunt

    This will be a great weekend for the Warriors, for the Rink of Dreams and (most especially) for Cooperstown! Barry Shelley has done an amazing job of lining up sponsors who see the need for sporting our veterans. Tap of the stick to the wonderful business owners and others of COOPERSTOWN, NEW YORK!

  2. barry shelley

    Thanks Billy. It wasn’t mentioned in the article but Billy will be flying up from New Mexico for that weekend and he will be our honorary referee for the game. Billy spent over 30 years in the Central Hockey League as a linesman and then later became the Leagues Supervisor of Officials.

  3. Ernie Hernandez

    This is awesome and as Veteran and member of the New Jersey Warrior Disabled Hockey team, I am beyond humbled and honored to be part of this and support it. As you know many Veterans (22) a day still lose the battle after the battle they have been in, and some of us never seek or call out for help but Thanks to Mark and Ted they get all of us to do and be part of something that not only help us but for some it’s a way to thank and give back for all the support for the families and people back home that are proud of the sacrifices we have made. For me it’s like still defending the flag and my grateful nation. Thank you most of all to Mr. Shelley you rock Sir. See you all on the ice and in town. Thank you, Ernie Hernandez LW.

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