Veterans find comradery, competition in Bay Area hockey program

A Tampa hockey program made specifically for veterans is a mix of recreation and competition. 

The Tampa Warriors Hockey Program, Inc ("TWHP") was formed five years ago to serve the disabled veteran, hockey and Tampa communities.

"We have about five different teams. We have teams that play right here at Advent Health Center Ice," said Chris Scangarello, the executive director of the Tampa Warriors.

The five core values of the league are compassion, community, camaraderie, competition and healthy living. 

"We also give back to our community because most first responders and military, we’re givers it’s just in our blood," said Scangarello.

Members of the Tampa Warriors Hockey Program on ice

The game adapts to the players’ physical abilities since the program is dedicated to educating, training and motivating veterans who became disabled during their time protecting the United States.

Many members say the program is therapeutic.

READ 22-hour hockey game aimed at raising awareness for veteran suicide prevention

Mental health is always a focus for the TWHP. The annual Hockey Heals 22 event shines a light on the 22 per day veteran suicide rate. The program hosted 22-hour consecutive games.

Soldiers gathered with US flag

"One of our members told us one night, ‘You know, that’s my therapy session every week,’" explained Scangarello.

All the TWHP staff are volunteers including on and off-ice mentors and directors. 

LINK: Learn more about the Tampa Warriors Hockey program here