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Fort Bragg soldiers set to play charity hockey game Saturday

Spectators at Saturday's Fayetteville FireAntz game will be treated to an undercard when two military teams face off for charity at the Crown Coliseum.

The Fort Bragg Patriots will play a team from Fort Benning, Ga., before the scheduled game between the FireAntz and the Columbus Cottonmouths.

The 5 p.m. game will match the amateur teams made up mostly of soldiers.

But Staff Sgt. Adam Kourelis, captain and coach of the Fort Bragg Patriots, said the game is for more than just bragging rights.

While the Fort Benning team represents the post, the Fort Bragg Patriots play for a nonprofit that helps wounded soldiers, Kourelis said.

Camp Patriot is an organization that operates out of a ranch in Libby, Mont. It provides outdoor therapy tailored to injured veterans.

Kourelis said the Fort Bragg team is named after the organization and solicits donations for the group during its games.

On Saturday, officials will collect donations for the charity.

"We skate for Camp Patriot," Kourelis said. "That's why we do what we do."

Jason Fleming, director of marketing for the FireAntz, said the team's partnership with the Fort Bragg Patriots dates back several years.

The team will offer military and group discounts for the game, which also coincides with "Star Wars Night," Fleming said.

Kourelis said roughly 35 people are on the Patriot roster, but said the team is often limited to about 13 skaters due to military training and deployments.

The team, founded in October 2012, plays in amateur tournaments and against other military posts, including Camp Lejuene, he said.

"We play against anybody we can play against," Kourelis said.

The Benning team is a friendly rival, he said.

The teams play twice a year - holding the games ahead of matchups between the FireAntz and Cottonmouths.

brooksd@fayobserver.com

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