N.L.'s Liam Hickey, teammates ready to take on U.S. for Paralympic gold
'We kinda figured this was how it would end up, us against the States,' says multi-sport, two-time Paralympian
Liam Hickey of St. John's and his teammates on Canada's men's Paralympic hockey team will be wearing a medal after the championship match early Sunday morning, but there's only one colour they want.
"We don't want silver, so we're going for that gold medal," Hickey told the St. John's Morning Show on Friday.
The 19-year-old has performed well, scoring in each game of his first Paralympics as a hockey player — he competed in wheelchair basketball at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio — but he still confesses to being nervous, especially with the final coming up, to be played at 12:30 a.m. NT on Sunday.
"I do get pretty nervous. I think, especially for this game, the nerves are gonna kick in a bit more than maybe the previous games," he said. "It helps to have some experience under my belt after going through Rio and being able to play in front of that many people."
For Hickey, playing on the men's hockey team is the culmination of a lifelong dream, and he's grateful for the help of friends and family along the way.
Outscored opponents 42-0 in four games
"My family's been a huge supporter of me since I was a little kid," he said. "Everybody growing up, they've all had my back right away."
He played basketball at his first Paralympics, but hockey was his first love, he says — his hero growing up was Sidney Crosby.
"He's been, obviously, an amazing hockey player and somebody I like to model my game after," he said.
It's just going to come down to who performs the best during that game, and we're all confident.- Liam Hickey
While Hickey and his teammates' path to the final hasn't exactly been difficult — in four games, they've scored 42 goals, given up none, and a 7-0 win against South Korea was the closest match they've played so far — they know the U.S. will be a different story.
"We've been preparing for this game for quite a while now. We kinda figured this was how it would end up, us against the States," he said. "I think mentally we've been ready for it for quite a bit. Physically, we're definitely ready for it. We've put in a lot of training, and it's just going to come down to who performs the best during that game, and we're all confident."
The gold-medal game will be streamed live on CBC.ca.