The Rochester Raiders can win your heart and be undefeated - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

The Rochester Raiders can win your heart and be undefeated

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The Rochester Raiders can win your heart and be undefeated The Rochester Raiders can win your heart and be undefeated
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Rochester Raiders adaptive floor hockey team is out to prove it is just like any other team.

"It takes a lot more to raise an adaptive athlete, so when they first start they are shy and timid, but once they get out here for a couple weeks they are no holds barred," said Raiders Head Coach Jeff Copler whose son was an adaptive athlete. "They are out here playing adaptive floor hockey and they just love it."

Like all Raiders, Erik Anderson suffers from a physical or cognitive disability.

"Erik was born with arthrogryposis and club feet, so those are his two primary conditions," explained his mother Tracey Anderson.

Despite the adversity, he and his teammates are banding together as they try to put together a season so magical it surpasses their lone state championship.

"If we win these next three this will be the Raiders first ever undefeated regular season," said Copler. "Even the state championship team lost a game during the regular season, so no Raider team has ever accomplished what we are trying to accomplish here."

"We were planning to get a medal no matter what,"  explained Erik. "I mean any medal is great."

Behind them is a community of parents, and adoring fans, all eager to watch the team succeed.

"It's so exciting I mean they're banging on the bleachers, and everyone is yelling their names, and trying to coach there kids, but as a parent it's exciting to see him be a part of this team and it's really awesome because he is able to get that experience," said Tracey Anderson with a smile on her face.

This rowdy bunch competes in the Minnesota State High School League just like every other team in the state.

"It's so neat when these kids walk through the hallways, and they got their letter jackets on with their patches and everything," described Copler. "They're treated just the same as everybody else."

They even have their own cheerleaders.

"We often hear from other coaches that when we travel to away games we have the loudest cheering section out of anybody," said Copler with pride.

However, when it comes right down to it they always have each other.

"I kind of just want to be that person where if you have questions, you know you can come to me, and if I know them I will answer them," said Erik, who is an emerging leader on the team.

Every play and every shot is cherished.

"I see alumni, former Raiders out in the streets, and you know they always talk about their experiences as a Raider," explained Copler.  "How they all wish they could just come back and play one game."

These kids are trying to make a lasting memory of their own, the perfect season.
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