Fort Benning hockey team ready to hit the ice - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fort Benning hockey team ready to hit the ice

Hockey is coming to Fort Benning. Or to be more precise, the Fort Benning hockey team is ready to get going, thanks to the Columbus Cottonmouths.

For the guys lacing up their skates, it's pretty simple. When you've been off the ice for a few years, it feels good to be part of a team again.

"It's great to see that there are this many soldiers with hockey experience coming out to participate, said Capt. Mark May. "It just brings a great overall atmosphere to the rink."

"It's a pretty cool experience," agreed Capt. Brian Kee. "This whole thing kind of snowballed into something bigger than it was supposed to be."

Cottonmouths Head Coach Jerome Bechard admits he stole the idea for a military team from Lions Coach Jason Gibson, who brought the football Doughboys back to Fort Benning.

"I just kind of got to thinking," Bechard said. "There's got to be some hockey players out there, knowing that there's about 10-15 guys that play in the adult league. We do this thing where we play the Legends and it'd be pretty cool to put an army team together."

So that's what he did. Fifty soldiers tried out in January, and 27 made the team. Even after years off the ice and only one practice a week, the players from Fort Benning feel they've become a real team.

"To play with guys we fight next to every day, is a great opportunity all around," May said.

Bechard agrees.

"In their real jobs they're fighting for one team and that's us, the United States of America. and now they're fighting for the army team and it's pretty cool."

Fort Benning will play two games this weekend, Saturday against the Legends at the Civic Center, and Sunday against the Marines at the Columbus Ice Rink.

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