Countdown to the 2019 Warrior Classic



The Philadelphia Flyers Warriors are invading Las Vegas: From Oct. 4 to Oct. 7, the Flyers-affliated team of injured and disabled veterans from every branch of the U.S. armed forces will be Las Vegas as part of the 2019 USA Hockey Warrior Classic. Teams from across the country will compete in the tournament. 


"Our players have worked very hard to get to the Warrior Classic. It's not just about the tournament itself, although we're going there with every intention of winning. At the end of the day, the program is about the bonds the Warriors have with each other, on and off-the-ice. Not just within the Flyers Warriors, where they've really come together almost like extended family members, but also with veterans from across the country who share common experiences. I know the entire team is psyched to go to Vegas, and it's been very rewarding to see how things have come together at practice, in our games and the off-ice relationship I have with the team," said Flyers Warriors head coach Brad Marsh.


This year's tournament features 16 teams; double the number that played last year. It will feature upper and lower divisions. In 2018, the Buffalo Sabres Warriors won the Division A championship, defeating the Dallas Warrior Uppers, 7-3, in the final. In Division B, the Chicago Blackhawks Warriors down the Pittsburgh Warriors, 7-6, in comeback fashion. Recently, the brand new Flyers Warriors blew out their Pittsburgh counterparts, 16-3, in a Sept. 16 game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.


The 2019 tournament is presented by famed entertainer Terry Fator; the winner of the second season of "America's Got Talent" and a decade-long Las Vegas headliner with his combination of ventrilquism, vocal impressions, singing and comedy. Among Fator's many charitible endeavors, the Terry Fator Foundation supports the USA Hockey Warrior Classic and programs that support the military, veterans and their families. 


On Oct. 3, Fator will be on hand for a pre-tournament get-together dinner with all of the participating Warrior teams. The next day, the puck drops on the tournament. Games will be held at two venues: City National Arena (headquarters and training complex for the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights) and the Las Vegas Ice Center. 


 "For all us, this is like a dream come true. I don't even have words to describe what it means to us to have our team, and how much we appreciate what the Flyers organization as a whole, and Marshy, Rob, and Hound in particular have done for us," said Flyers Warriors right winger Ed McEvoy, referring to Marsh, and assistant coaches Rob Baer (the Flyers' director of amateur and youth hockey programs) and Bob Kelly (Flyers ambassador of hockey). 


As a newly created team, the Flyers Warriors will participate in the Tier II Pool B round-robin segement of the Warrior Classic. On Fri. Oct. 4, they will play an 11:30 a.m. (local time) game at Las Vegas Ice Center against the Utah Warriors, and a 4:00 p.m. game at the same venue against the Nebraska Warriors. On Saturday at 4 p.m., the Philly squad returns to the Las Vegas Ice Center to take on the Capital Beltway Warriors to complete the preliminary round.


The playoffs begin later on the night of Oct. 5. The upper bracket of the two round-robin pools will pit each first-place team against each second-place team. The lower bracket will consist of the third-place and fourth-place teams from each round-robin playing against one another.  On Sunday morning and early afternoon, the two winners from Saturday night's upper division semifinals and the two winners from the lower division semifinals will play in one final game apiece to crown upper-division and lower-division champions. 


The Flyers Warriors were officially introduced in a special ceremony in the NHL team's locker room at the Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 21, 2019 during the lead-up to the NHL's Stadium Series. The team practices every Sunday at the Flyers Skate Zone in Pennsauken, NJ. To date, the Flyers Warriors are undefeated in three games.