Brian Rosen likes to say that when he started the Ohio Warriors, he believed that if he could help just one person, the sled hockey program for disabled veterans would be worth it.
The program has done a lot more than that since its inception in 2014, but as an example of the impact it’s had, take Ryan Lenser.
An eight-year veteran of the Marine Corps who left the service in 2012, Lenser was struggling with his transition from military to civilian life when his wife, Abigail, suggested he attend one of the original sled hockey clinics Rosen put together in Columbus.
Originally a native of Wisconsin who grew up playing pond hockey with friends and shooting pucks at garage doors, Lenser had a background in the sport and became a Blue Jackets fan upon moving to central Ohio, and Abigail saw sled hockey as a potential avenue for her husband to gain back some of the things he’d been missing in life.
“She knew I was into hockey and she was like, ‘Why don’t you go try this?’ because things weren’t great,” Lenser said. “It might have been more than an ultimatum than anything. I went and tried it, got on the ice, fell over for probably an hour, trying to get going, trying to get moving.
“I got home and Abigail asked me, ‘How did you do?’ I was like, ‘Terribly. I fell over quite a bit. I’m going to be very sore from pushing myself back up.’ And she said, ‘But how did you like it?’ And I said, ‘I loved it.’ And I’ve been with the program ever since.”
In the intervening…