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Hockey game on Saturday will raise funds for DLYHA

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Now that the Street Faire at the Lakes has concluded, summer has officially arrived in the lakes area — but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait until next winter to find a good hockey game happening at the Kent Freeman Sports Arena.

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A special exhibition game featuring members of the Minnesota Warriors hockey team, as well as a few well-known alumni from the National Hockey League, is set to take place at 3 p.m. this Saturday, June 8 on the ice of Freeman Arena’s Rink 2.

Joining NHL alumni Tom Younghands (Minnesota North Stars), John Rohloff (Boston Bruins), Shjon Podein (Colorado Avalanche-former Stanley Cup champion), Tom Chorske (New Jersey Devils-former Stanley Cup champion), Todd Rohloff (Washington Capitals), and Marty Murray (Philadelphia Flyers) for the game will be former Minnesota Gopher Matt Koalska and Detroit Lakes Lakers Joe Schiller and Tanner Lane.

The exhibition will also feature 15 members of the Minnesota Warriors, an amateur hockey team comprised exclusively of military veterans.

“The (Minnesota Warriors) team includes recreational players as well as those who have played competitive junior hockey,” says Zach Lamppa, one of the organizers of the inaugural event. “They’re very well organized and well coached.”

What makes the team so unique, however, is the fact that its members are all military veterans who are living with physical and mental limitations such as service-related disabilities, limb amputation, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), manic depression and anxiety.

“Ice hockey is our therapy,” explained Minnesota Warriors President Alan Lindgren in an April interview, adding that “there may not be outward scars, but they still have problems” related to their military experiences.

The program, which is based in Twin Cities suburb Vadnais Heights, helps the veterans with readjusting to civilian life, through interaction with others who understand their experiences.

Saturday’s game will consist of three 15-minute periods.Lamppa said he hopes this exhibition “is hopefully the first of many years of working with the Warriors to support Detroit Lakes youth hockey.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Detroit Lakes Youth Hockey Association (DLYHA), he explained.

In addition to Saturday’s game, many of the participating players will take part in a DLYHA Golf Scramble benefit on Friday, June 7 at Wildflower Golf Course, starting at 10 a.m.

Those interested in taking part in the golf scramble can sign up at a cost of $65 per person, or $260 for a team of four. Call Sam at 850-8880 for more information.

After the tournament, which will conclude at around 5 p.m., many of the participants will be heading over to Lakeside Tavern for an informal gathering.

“Chet (Collins, Lakeside’s owner) has been a great supporter from day one,” Lamppa said.

Those who are interested in meeting the players one-on-one can also come early to the arena on Saturday, or follow them back to Lakeside Tavern after the game for a formal meet and greet.

“There will be a silent auction (including some rare hockey jerseys and other memorabilia), and the players will be signing cards or other items that people bring them to autograph,” Lamppa said.

Tickets for the game are $5, and will be available at the door. Larger free will donations to the DLYHA will also be accepted, he said.

Minnesota Warriors t-shirts and hats will also be available for purchase at the arena before, during and after the game, Lamppa said.

For more information about the Minnesota Warriors, and participating players, please visit www.mnwarriors.com.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 14 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 844-1454
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