Summerside native Billy Bridges is celebrating Canada’s sledge hockey bronze and thanking people in his home province for all their support.
“It’s so awesome feeling the love from P.E.I., because that’s what I am, I’m such a proud Islander and I love it,” he said.
Bridges put Canada squarely in the driver's seat with two goals. After losing to the Americans on Thursday, the Canadian team had to win this game to come home with a medal.
'Training for the Olympics is one of the most selfish things you can do ... you put your friends on hold, you put your family on hold, you put your life on hold for a dream.' - Billy Bridges
Faced with an opportunity on Saturday to erase the bad memories of a loss to Norway in the 2010 bronze medal game in Vancouver, the Canadian sledge hockey team took full advantage, defeating Norway 3-0.
Bridges said this is the best feeling he's had in eight years, though was modest about his role in the win.
“I’m so honoured and so lucky to be on a line with my best friend and the best sledge hockey player in the world, Brad Bowden, and probably the smartest sledge hockey player in the world in Greg Westlake. When you put those two combined, when they’re playing their game and their role, you know I’m so lucky to be that guy that’s just in the right spot at the right time,” he said.
He said he’s proud of all his teammates.
“It’s been eight years since I’ve had an Olympic medal around my neck. I remember what it feels like and I’m just happy that these young guys on our team that are so extraordinarily gifted can get the feeling of the closing ceremonies with a medal around their necks, knowing what it feels like, you know, having something to show their families when they get home,” said Bridges.
Canada entered the semifinals this year with a perfect 3-0 record before its 3-0 loss to the U.S.
Bridges said it’s hard to be disappointed with a bronze medal win when competing against the U.S., giving a lot of credit to the opposition’s goalie.
“You know, it is what it is. You’ve got to take your hat off to Steve Cash, he’s one of the best goaltenders in the world,” he said.
When asked about the of the Paralympics, Bridges called Vancouver a “massive” turning point in getting coverage.
He thanked his friends, family and his wife Sami for their support.
“Training for the Olympics is one of the most selfish things you can do in your entire life — you put your friends on hold, you put your family on hold, you put your life on hold for a dream,” said Bridges.
“Hopefully Sami’s willing to put up with this in four years’ time … I’d love to stick around.”
The loss to Canada ends Norway’s streak of medalling in every Paralympic Games since 1994 in Lillehammer, when sledge hockey was first introduced.