Fort Bragg team wins for Camp Patriot
Forest Kidwell, center, a right wing player with the Fort Bragg Patriots hockey team, and a Fort Benning, Ga. hockey team player, left, mix it up on the ice as the Patriots push the score to 6-1, Feb. 8, at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - For the Fort Bragg Patriots, there's no place like home. Storming out to 3-1 lead in the first period, the Patriots never looked back as they captured their first victory of the team's inaugural season over the Fort Benning, Ga. hockey team Feb. 8, at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C.

"It's great to be here on the home turf," said A.J. LaLonde, contractor, defenseman. "It was a tight game last time we played them. We wanted to make sure that we kept up a physical game and do the little things that it takes to win."

The Patriots sit at 1-1 in the season with their only loss coming in a 3-4 shootout loss on the road to Fort Benning at the Columbus Civic Center in January.

"We had to make sure that we used our heads tonight and not get caught up in penalties," said Adam Kourelis, player and coach assigned to a Fort Bragg unit. "Last time we played them we had trouble staying out of the penalty box."

From the first faceoff, the Patriots controlled the tempo of the game on both sides of the ice. As a team, the Patriots dominated the puck and shots on goal by more than tripling Fort Benning in shots on goal 22-6. By the start of the third period, with the game safely out of reach for Fort Benning, the Patriots cruised to a 6-1 victory.

"Every single guy I have out here works hard to be a part of this team," said Kourelis.
Even though the Patriots won on the ice, the victory wasn't all about skates and pucks. The Patriots used their inaugural night to garner fan support for their charity.

"We are doing this for Camp Patriot," said Kourelis. "It's a great wounded veteran organization. That's the whole point of us playing these games is to raise awareness for them and hopefully get some money for those guys so that they can continue to do what they do helping disabled veterans."
Micah Clark, the executive director and founder of Camp Patriot, was in attendance to not only cheer on the inaugural home opener, but he helped spread the word about his organization.

"I started it in 2004 when I came back from Afghanistan," said Clark. "The program is designed to take United States disabled veterans on outdoor adventures. Through those adventures we create a relationships upon which we can continue to help them achieve their goals in life."

The Patriots hockey team and Camp Patriot, look forward to sharing this season while bringing awareness and having fun competing in hockey.

It's a pretty big rush to be out here, said Chris Beffrey, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Warfare Center and School. We're excited to be here not only for ourselves, but also for the veterans at Camp Patriot. That's really why we are out here."

For more information about Camp Patriot, visit www.camppatriot.org or call (406) 293-4376.

Page last updated Fri February 15th, 2013 at 00:00