A native of Houston, Texas, Rob Torres has been involved in hockey his whole life. After playing roller hockey in fourth grade and switching to ice hockey shortly thereafter, Torres knew the first thing he wanted to do after getting out of the Army was play hockey.
A U.S. Army 11C infantry mortar, Torres spent two tours deployed in Iraq where he suffered a traumatic brain injury. In addition to his head trauma, Torres now lives with several post-service disabilities, including post traumatic stress disorder and hearing loss.
After returning to the United States, Torres learned about the Warrior discipline through the United Heroes League. He has been a part of Dallas Warriors Hockey for a year and a half, and participated in the Warrior Classic for the first time last year.
“It’s been a life-changing experience,” Torres said, “It’s the most fulfilling hockey I’ve ever been a part of.”
In addition to the therapeutic benefits of Warrior Hockey, Torres says one of his favorite parts of playing is getting to compete and represent his area along with the camaraderie of playing alongside other veterans.
“Getting to meet other veterans from other areas, we get together, relive the positives and help each other through the negatives.”
Torres, who works as a paramedic in Houston, explained how Warrior Hockey is more than just a hockey community, it’s a community of veterans who share similar experiences and support each other through the highs and lows.
“It’s a place we can all feel comfortable,” Torres said, “We’re our own community of Veterans which makes playing Warrior Hockey that much more important.”
The fourth annual USA Hockey Warrior Classic, presented by Terry Fator will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 3-6, 2019. Games will be played at City National Arena and The Las Vegas Ice Center. This year's tournament will consist of 16 teams, doubling the record eight-team field from last year’s event, with upper and lower divisions.
Warrior hockey teams from around the country to participate in a weekend of hockey and camaraderie that is dedicated to U.S. military veterans with a disability who also play ice hockey. To be eligible, all players must be or have been Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces and meet a minimum disability rating with the VA. The inaugural event took place in Arlington, Va., in 2017. Click here to see the full eligibility rules for the Warrior Hockey Discipline.