The Warren Roughnecks became champions after competing in the Armed Forces Hockey Association tournament in Las Vegas, Nov. 9-12, 2023 by going undefeated for five games against fellow service members and first responders from around the world.
Master Sgt. Nicholas Marriott, 790th Maintenance Squadron vehicle and equipment section chief and team captain, and Staff Sgt. Brandon Sanders, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron team chief and team manager, decided to start their own hockey team composed of all 90th Missile Wing Airmen to compete in the tournament.
Marriot had played on a team with Airmen from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and Minot AFB, North Dakota. Both he and Sanders played with other 90 MW Airmen in the Cheyenne community on a men’s league and on the frozen base lakes in the winter. Once they thought they would have enough people to form a team for the tournament, Marriot made a Facebook page for F.E. Warren AFB hockey and began recruiting team members.
After forming the team in May of 2023, Marriott and Sanders registered the team in June for the tournament later in the year.
“This was the largest tournament they have hosted,” Marriot said. “Seventy teams participated, and this is an international tournament so first responders and military members from around the world can participate.”
From forming the team to the time of the tournament, the Roughnecks did not have any official team practices. The only opportunities to practice came in the form of free play in town, on frozen lakes or games with the local hockey league.
“A lot of the other guys on the team, myself included, have never played in games of this style and the first tournament game was also the first time we even played together as a team,” said Sanders. “I was a little skeptical of how we were going to do, especially with so many teams.”
Each team in the tournament is guaranteed four games throughout the weekend and the Roughnecks started with two games to determine their placement and division among the other teams in the tournament. The first game ended 7-0 with the Roughnecks beating the Nomads and then a second 6-0 shutout against the Utah Warriors Red.
“Our placement games were not exactly easy, but we definitely shouldn’t have been in that division,” said Sanders. “When we got bumped up for our next games, we saw some of the teams playing in our new division and we were worried about keeping up with them.”
The Roughnecks pulled through on these two games, however, and won them both with scores of 4-2 and 7-0., against the Rocky Mountain Patriots and the Hill Falcons, respectively. These wins helped secure their position in the championship game on the final day of the tournament, Nov. 12.
For the division’s championship game, the Warren Roughnecks played a U.S. Coast Guard team called the New England Operators. This was a good game which made for a fun time, according to Sanders. the team scored one goal in the first period, two in the second and both teams scored one goal in the third and final period for a game winning score of 4-1 for the Roughnecks.
“This was a fun team to be around and play with,” said Marriot. “Winning in our first season was great and now we know more people are interested and want to come play with us this coming year.”
Since coming back to Cheyenne from the Las Vegas tournament, the Warren Roughnecks have got the interest of about 20 new people, according to Sanders. For 90 MW Airmen interested in joining, with or without hockey or skating experience, they should reach out to the team captain or manager. There is also a Facebook page called F.E Warren Hockey.
Lt Col Kevin Chelf, Chaplain
Capt. Tony D’Urso, 320th Missile Squadron
1st Lt. Thomas Liberta, 321st Missile Squadron
Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Grant Byelich, Army National Guard, Cheyenne, Wyoming
Master Sgt. Nicholas Marriott (Captain), 790th Maintenance Squadron
Tech. Sgt. Jacob Green, 90th Missile Wing command post
Staff Sgt. Brandon Sanders (Manager), 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron
Staff Sgt. Patrick Murphy, 90th Force Support Squadron
Staff Sgt. Brandon Clemons, 90th Missile Security operations Squadron
Staff Sgt. Mike Bustin, 90th Missile Security operations Squadron
Senior Airman Tristian Ostergard, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron
Capt. Kyle Brubaker, 90th Maintenance group (has since PCS’d)
Master Sgt. Sgt Cory Carlson, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron (has since PCS’d)
This article was originally published on the F.E. Warren base website at: https://www.warren.af.mil/News/Article/3621134/warren-roughnecks-claim-hockey-title/, Dec. 15, 2023.
|LAS VEGAS, NV, US