By Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public AffairsJanuary 2, 2020
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Jan. 1, 2020) -- Twenty-four Soldier-athletes celebrated New Year's Eve in competition as the All-Army Hockey Team scrimmaged the Watertown Wolves on Dec. 31 at Watertown Municipal Arena.
All-Army started strong in the first period with goals by 1st Lt. C.J. Reuschlein (U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii), Maj. Jeffrey Fearing (U.S. Army Garrison-Wiesbaden, Germany) and Capt. Aaron Phelps (Fort Campbell, Kentucky).
The Wolves retaliated in the second period to take the lead, 4-3, until Army tied it up with a goal by Capt. Charles Beaton (Fort Carson, Colorado). A goal by Spc. Michael Antoniou (Fort Hood, Texas) in the third period gave All-Army the 5-3 win.
"This was a great opportunity to be able to play here in front of a local crowd, and being stationed here, it was a lot of fun," said Capt. Graham Henderson, who serves at Fort Drum as a plans officer with 10th Mountain Division Artillery. "It was a good crowd and a great atmosphere."
The exhibition against the hometown professional hockey team followed four days of team training during the annual All-Army Hockey trial camp at Fort Drum. Henderson said that the team cohesion they developed, even after such a short time together, was evident on the ice.
"We had some really good practices and went over some systems that worked for all of us," he said. "I think that -- just being in the military -- there was already a sense of brotherhood, and it was easy for all the guys to work together as a team."
Originally from Troy, New York, Henderson said that he grew up playing hockey, and he was active in a Triple-A travel team and on school teams. He said that he was grateful for this opportunity to represent the Army in a sport he loves.
"It's hard to explain -- this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.
Pvt. Richard Mischak echoed that sentiment.
"For a guy like me coming from Fort Polk (Louisiana), there's not a lot of hockey going on, so this is unbelievable," he said.
Mischak is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (LI), and he used some of his block leave to prepare for the trial camp.
"I got back on the ice with my brother's team and then just my own ice time to get loose," he said.
There are several players returning from last year's team, to include Capt. Matthew Milley, from Fort Benning, Georgia, and Spc. Jordon McInnis from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Beaton played on the inaugural team in 2017, and Fearing has served as head coach and team captain all three years.
"The coolest thing about the All-Army program is that we come together from all over the world, and we all do different things for the Army," Fearing said. "But for these few weeks, we build a team and play hard, and then go back into the Army and continue our work."
Fearing said that the first day of practice is always rough, especially for those who have played hockey for many years but not recently.
"This is a great group of guys, and we've been getting better every day," he said. "Our guys have worked hard, so it was good to get a win today and feel good about that, but we're going to continue training for the next game."
The team will leave Fort Drum on Jan. 5 and travel to Latvia to participate in the Baltic Military Winter Games.
"It's so cool to be able to go overseas and represent not only the U.S. Army but the U.S. Armed Forces in international competition," Fearing said. "It's a great honor. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville always says that winning matters. No matter what team you send, you send them to win. That's definitely what we plan to do -- compete hard against our NATO allies and represent our country well."
The All-Army Hockey Team roster is as follows:
*Capt. Matthew Milley (Fort Benning, Georgia)
*1st Lt. Andrew O'Leary (USAG Hawaii)
*1st Lt. Curran Reuschlein (USAG Hawaii)
*Maj. Jeffrey Fearing (USAG Wiesbaden)
*Capt. Micah Robbins (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas)
*Sgt. 1st Class Dylan Brown (Fort Benning, Georgia)
*Pvt. Richard Mischak (Fort Polk, Louisiana)
*Cpl. Evan Joyal (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)
*Sgt. Timothy Houston (Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington)
*Capt. Aaron Phelps (Fort Campbell, Kentucky)
*1st Lt. Michael Prikazsky (Fort Bragg, North Carolina)
*Capt. Charles Beaton Jr. (Fort Carson, Colorado)
*Capt. Joshua Richards (Fort Stewart, Georgia)
*Pfc. Collin Malone (Fort Hood, Texas)
*Spc. Michael Antoniou (Fort Hood, Texas)
*1st Lt. Michael St. Denis (Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington)
*Capt. Graham Henderson (Fort Drum, New York)
*Trainer: Kyle Eckert (Fort Carson, Colorado)
*Head coach: Maj. Jeffrey Fearing (USAG Wiesbaden)
*Assistant Coach: (Retired Lt. Col.) Darrin Janisch
In 2017, Fort Drum became home to the All-Army Hockey Team during its inaugural season when Soldier-athletes showcased their talents by going undefeated in local and international competition. They posted wins against the West Point Club Hockey Team and a Canadian military team.
The All-Army Team continued their streak overseas at the 5th Baltic Military Winter Games in Lithuania. They earned gold with wins over the host nation Lithuania, Latvia, Canada and Estonia.
Last year, the team traveled to Finland and recorded two wins over the Finnish Navy Team, and Finnish Air Force Team. All-Army posted their only loss against the Finnish Army Team.
The All-Army Sports program gives Soldiers an opportunity to compete in a wide range of athletics -- everything from rugby, taekwondo and cross country to softball, volleyball and the all-new Alpha Warrior Team. To learn more about this FMWR program, visit https://www.armymwr.com/programs-and-services/sports-and-fitness/all-army-sports.