Novi, Michigan, April 11 – A Novi-based team of combat injured and disabled veterans, mostly from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, won the Divisional national title in the nation’s largest Disabled Hockey Festival in West Dundee, Il. over the past weekend.
The Motor City Warriors, a team just formed last fall, beat the Alaska Warriors 7-2 in the B division championship game to earn their place in disabled hockey history. The Warrior Division is an important part of the overall festival where more than 120 teams and 1,700 players from the U.S. and Canada competed in the two week-long 2018 USA Disabled Hockey Festival.
The team had a rough regular season in the Novi men’s league. “Our injured and disabled veterans were up against able bodied players who were faster and more experienced,” says Rick Briggs, General Manager of the Motor City Veterans Hockey Association. “They learned to make quicker decisions, better passes and to skate faster, which ultimately helped us big time against other disabled hockey teams of our level in the Festival.”
The CNS Warriors are sponsored by Center for Neurological Studies, a Novi-based developer of advanced MRI techniques for the detection of the kind of mild to moderate brain injuries that often result from battle-related injuries. CNS is conducting a “Hope After Combat” research program for veterans suffering from symptoms that could be related to PTSD. The hockey program can be helpful in the healing process and is a way to bring attention to the “Hope After Combat” research program.
“Sports activities are generally a beneficial outlet for anyone who’s suffered a traumatic brain injury. They help with balance and strength and they give the veterans a chance to be with other veterans going through the same ‘invisible wounds’ they’ve suffered,” says Randall Benson, MD, CNS Medical Director. “This championship is a huge boost for our entire team and nobody deserves it more.”
The Warrior team is coached by Dr. Brittney Briggs, Director of Psychological Services for the Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor. Dr. Briggs had an extensive hockey career having played for Boston College and Colgate universities and being selected to the Olympic Development Camp in Lake Placid, NY, three times.
“I am extremely proud of the progress the team has made and how supportive they are of each other,” says John Russell, Founder and CEO of CNS. “I appreciate the fact that the families are just as much a part of the team as the veterans themselves. As a group they all came together, worked hard and brought home a well-deserved championship. It’s a fabulous outcome.”