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VA Western New York Healthcare System


Generous Donation Made to Support Ice Hockey For Veterans

Veteran sled and stand up teams pose with representatives from the Buffalo Sabres, Sabres Foundation, National Fuel and VA WNY Healthcare System.

Veteran sled and stand up teams pose with representatives from the Buffalo Sabres, Sabres Foundation, National Fuel and VA WNY Healthcare System.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A special press conference was held on March 29, 2012 at First Niagara Center to announce funding support from The Buffalo Sabres Foundation, Buffalo Sabres Alumni and National Fuel to provide the sport of hockey through the Veteran Affairs Western New York Healthcare System to Veterans. 

The three organizations have committed a total of $90,000 per year for the next three years for the program.  The funding will pay for the equipment, uniforms, ice time and tournaments.

Veterans who participated in on-ice clinics recently offered in partnership with VA Recreation Therapy, USA Hockey and Hasek’s Heroes were in attendance to show their support and excitement for the new program, which will include two teams. The teams, Buffalo Sabres Sled Vets and Buffalo Sabres Warriors have an exciting opportunity to play sled and stand up hockey for fun and to help with physical and emotional rehabilitation.

“We are so fortunate in Western New York to have the support from the Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Sabres Foundation, and National Fuel to provide this recreation therapy sport for veterans,” said Brian G. Stiller, VA medical center director.
All parties involved expressed their excitement about the new program.

Cliff Benson, Buffalo Sabres Chief Development Officer and President of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation said, “We are thrilled to join together with our Sabres Alumni Association and National Fuel to support this very important program for local heroes who have so bravely served our country.”

Rob Ray, Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association President is honored to be a part of this extraordinary program.  Rob Ray, who has a personal connection to the VA hospital, said his father in law regularly uses VA health care services.

“It is an honor to be involved with this group of individuals,” said Ray.  They deserve the opportunity to be able to compete on the ice, to be a part of a team and we couldn’t be happier about lending our support.”

Medical director Stiller said, "To give us the opportunity to add more to what we do, just goes without saying that the importance of a community serving Veterans and I thank you."

Twenty-five Veterans are headed to Dallas to participate in the USA Disabled Hockey Festival this month through VA Western New York Recreation Therapy Program and the generous support of these organizations. 

The program is open to Veterans of all abilities.  To learn more contact Pam Kaznowski, recreation therapy supervisor at 716-862-6814 or



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