VOORHEES – Jim Young knows a lot about hockey and plenty related to the military, but he never knew the two would somehow meet in his life.
The former Central Bucks East High School skater found a home on the rink, then went into action to defend his country.
An armed services disability led him to the Flyers’ new Warriors hockey team, which was organized last year.
Now the squad is preparing to compete for a national championship in Las Vegas next month.
As the new captain of the Warriors, the Pineville native and former U.S. Marine is excited about the team’s prospects.
And why shouldn’t he be? In addition to having some fine players, the team is coached by Flyers’ former standout defenseman Brad Marsh, who is assisted by Hockey Hall of Famer Bob Clarke.
At a press conference in the Skate Zone on Saturday, where the Warriors are conducting a four-day training camp, Young talked about his teammates and how the same courage that applies to military service can translate into playing a physical sport like hockey.
“We have some guys who are 80, 90, 100 percent disabled,’’ Young said. “Most of disabilities that we have on the team are more internal. But there plenty of external ones as well.
“We kind of cater to where if someone is hurting during practice – back issues, knee issues – we say, ‘go have a seat.’ We tell them to sit down. We’re not playing for the Stanley Cup here but we do want everybody to get better at hockey.’’
A bunch of these guys have been involved in active combat.
“I can’t remember who said it, but it’s been all over the news lately,’’ Young said. “We’re skating around, running into each other at much faster speeds than you could run, on an eighth of an inch ‘knife’. . .so there’s a lot courage that goes into it, of course.
“So a lot of people were intimidated by that. We’re trying to get past that, especially with the veterans.’’
Right now, the Warriors call the Pennsauken Skate Zone home. Games are being scheduled as opponents become available.
After playing for CBE, Young went on to play for Kutztown University.
Because he grew up a Flyers fan, this is like a dream come true for Young.
“I’m on Cloud Nine,’’ he said with a smile. “It’s absolutely amazing. I wear No. 12 because Tim Kerr was my favorite player.’’
Marsh, who is president of the Flyers’ Alumni Association, is gung-ho to get this team playing at a high level.
“The players here at training camp are going to be treated just like pros,’’ Marsh said. “We have fitness testing, which is ongoing now. We have seminars and guest speakers.
“We even have our first exhibition game on Monday, 2:30, at the Wells Fargo Center against the Pittsburgh Warriors prior to the Flyers playing the Islanders (in a preseason game that evening).
“They (the Warriors) get to leave their equipment here overnight and they get their underwear washed, just like the pros!’’