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St. Louis Blues Warriors deserve a practice at Enterprise Center

Now it’s your turn, St. Louis Blues Warriors!

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vancouver Canucks at St. Louis Blues Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for me to write about another topic not named the St. Louis Blues, but still Blues-related.

As you may have already heard, the St. Louis Blues introduced the North City Blues on December 16, 2021. North City is St. Louis’ newest youth hockey initiative coached by Blues alumni Jamal Mayers. Mayers, a former winger, played 15 NHL seasons for the Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, and Chicago Blackhawks.

Now that North City can take the ice for practice in full gear, then next should be the St. Louis Blues Warriors. I’m not discrediting North City’s success and progress. I’m happy for the children of color learning and playing the sport of hockey. As a person of color, I’m well-aware hockey isn’t the most diverse sport in the United States and beyond.

However, our country’s veterans deserve better for their service and sacrifice. Our veterans, especially our veterans with disabilities, may not be able to play ice hockey, let alone ice skate. St. Louis, Missouri is home to many veteran initiatives, from the Warriors to the St. Patrick Center — and rightfully so.

The Warriors are more than just a hockey organization in the Greater St. Louis area. They exist not only to provide opportunities for veterans with disabilities to play hockey but also to grow the game of hockey and raise the public’s awareness of veterans’ physical and mental health issues.

The Warriors don’t play in seasons, only tournaments; but that can change in the future. They also host scrimmages against St. Louis area-beer league teams.

The Warriors consist of four teams: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. Team Alpha’s players have played college hockey and above; Team Bravo’s players have played high school or Division 2 hockey; Team Charlie’s players are new to hockey, but have some skill; Team Delta’s players are beginners, haven’t played in a long time, or dealing with an illness and/or injury that limits their abilities.

I recently spoke to Chris Shockey, an Army veteran who deals with undisclosed health issues and plays for Team Delta as #78. Shockey told me that the St. Louis Blues Warriors’ sister team is the Kansas City Warriors in Kansas City, Mo. Together, St. Louis and Kansas City host fundraiser hockey games. Shockey added that the Chicago Blackhawks Warriors were the latest hockey team for veterans, as they were founded in 2015.

Our veterans made the ultimate sacrifice and served our country. They deserve better. They deserve to watch and play hockey for fun and exercise. They’ve sacrificed so much for us, myself included. Thank you, veterans!

The Warriors’ next tournament is in Dallas, Texas from April 1-3.