Marines are prepared to fight in any clime and place — including the ice hockey rink.
"We love hockey, but what better a way to play than with a bunch of Marines doing something we know how to do for a good cause," Bluder said.
Being Marines, they also bring the specific skill set of strong discipline, impeccable work ethic and dedicated professionalism to the ice, team coach and founder Maj. Scot Kleinman said.
"The Marine Corps is an elite warfighting organization, and we're an elite hockey organization," said Kleinman, who works by day as the operations officer for the Marine Corps' western recruiting region. "Of course we have fun, but we expect this of our guys."
Undeterred, he contacted Semper Fit at Marine Corps Community Services in Quantico, Virginia, and was told they couldn't provide any money, but could issue a Marine Corps-wide administrative message to help him recruit.
"Marines selected to the All-Marine Ice Hockey team will not receive funding for temporary additional duty" to attend events, the message specifically states.
Applications came rolling in, including Bluder's.
Recognizing that expenses would be out-of-pocket, he volunteered to manage the program on his own time and set out to solicit private donations to offset costs.
Bluder also set up a site on the application 'Team App' which allows team members to talk, coordinate and sort out uniform and gear issues.
"One of the best parts about this is we have a full sense of camaraderie," he said. "None of us have met each other before, but as Marines we're going out to play and put the effort out; we won't give up on each other."
Bluder also soon found out that they were not the first All-Marine Ice Hockey team.
The last time the Corps had an all-Marine ice hockey team was in the mid-1980s, but the Marines on the new team got similar jerseys to follow tradition.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sgt. Tyler Bluder
"As soon as they found out, they were crazy about what we're doing," Bluder said, adding that they are currently working to set up a charity match between the new and older team members.
"We're keeping the tradition, just like the Marine Corps does," Kleinman said.
Proceeds from that event will be split between the Semper Fi Fund and a charity for families of fallen police officers.
"We're going to do really well," he said. "The biggest thing for us is that it's a charity tournament; our objective is to give the Marine Corps a good name and what better way than playing for a good cause."
Matthew L. Schehl covers training and education, recruiting, West Coast Marines, MARSOC, and operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Marine Corps Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.