Wounded warriors skate at Comerica Park

USA Warriors Ice Hockey program gives injured veterans chance to play game

By Jamie Edmonds - Reporter

DETROIT - Army Captain Mark Little lost both of his legs when an IED exploded in Iraq.

During his rehabilitation back home, he never thought he'd ever be back on the ice, playing a game he loved.

"After my recovery, a buddy asked me, ‘Didn't you used to play hockey?' I said, 'I did,'" said Little.

Enter USA Warriors Ice Hockey program, a Washington, D.C.-based non profit started in 2008, that uses hockey to heal.

"It does so much for mental recovery, it really does," said US Marine Craig Lapine, a member of the team.

"It's a rehabilitation opportunity for these guys and gals who got wounded overseas, who come back with missing limbs, or PTSD," Little said. "It gives them a chance to rehabilitate in a team atmosphere with competition."

Team USA came to Comerica Park Monday to take on their counterparts from Canada. It was one of the first games played in the Hockeytown Winter Festival. It was also the first time Team USA played another team comprised completely of other wounded warriors.

"It's really awesome to take the ice with these guys," Little said. "Guys we fought beside on the battle field, now we are taking them on in friendly competition on the ice."

This was a once in a lifetime experience for all of the players, but especially so for local Tigers fan, Lapine, of Lake Orion.

"I was just here watching them in the playoffs," he said. "This is great."

Captain Little is now the captain of Team USA and he says leading this team, in this new fight, has brought him back to life.

For more information on the program go here.

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