Liam Hickey of St. John's named to sledge hockey Paralympics team

Two years after heading to Rio on Canada's wheelchair basketball team, St. John's native Liam Hickey is heading back to the Paralympic Games, but this time he'll be on the ice.

Dual-sport athlete shifting from wheelchair basketball to sledge hockey

Liam Hickey is headed to the Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (NL Hockey/Twitter)

Two years after competing in Rio, Liam Hickey of St. John's is heading back to the Paralympic Games, but this time he'll be on the ice. 

The 19-year-old dual-sport athlete is shifting gears from wheelchair basketball to sledge hockey at the Paralympics in Pyeongchang this March.

Hickey found out he was named to the team at an announcement ceremony held in Toronto on Sunday.

"It's pretty amazing," he said. "It's hard to put into words right now. It's pretty surreal," he said.
 
"We're going to the Paralympics, and it's obviously a tremendous honour to wear the Canadian jersey any time you can. It's a huge opportunity and we're all looking forward to it."

Hickey has been playing with the team for the past two years, and his hard work finally paid off on Sunday.

He's the rare dual-sport Paralympic athlete, having played on Canada's wheelchair basketball team at the Games two years ago in Rio. 

"To do it in two separate sports is a pretty amazing opportunity for myself, and I take it as a huge honour," said Hickey.

Liam Hickey of St. John's is one of the rare athletes to compete in both the winter and summer Paralympic Games. He competed for Canada in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

His road to the Paralympics has been a long time coming. 

He's been playing sledge hockey since he was eight years old, playing first with Easter Seals and then with the Avalon Sled Dogs.

Hickey previously played for Canada at the 2017 sledge hockey world championships. (Hockey Canada)

The Canadian sledge-hockey team will be favoured entering the Paralympics, having previously won the 2017 World Championships.

"We want gold, nothing else," said Hickey.

The team will head to South Korea on Feb. 28.

Hickey's family in St. John's and girlfriend will be joining him.