4 Canadian sledge hockey vets retire
Four long-time members of Canada's sledge hockey team are calling it quits.
Captain Jean Labonte, forwards Herve Lord and Todd Nicholson and goaltender Paul Rosen all announced their retirements Tuesday.
All four players won gold at the 2006 Paralympics in Turin, Italy. They capped their careers at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, where Canada finished a disappointing fourth.
"The dedication to themselves, their team and their sport made these men ideal ambassadors for sledge hockey, and their leadership on the ice and in the dressing room will be missed," Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson said in a statement.
Labonte, a 41-year-old defenceman, spent 15 years on the national team, winning world titles in 2000 and 2008. He also has a Paralympic silver medal from 1998 and a bronze from the 1996 world championship.
The Gatineau, Que., native finishes his career with 14 goals and 36 assists in 104 games since sledge hockey was included under the Hockey Canada umbrella in 2004.
Lord, 52, was the longest-serving member of the Canadian team after making his debut in 1991.
He is one of only three men — along with Nicholson and Shawn Matheson — to play in all five Paralympic Games in which sledge hockey was involved (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010), winning silver in 1998 and bronze in 1994 to go along with his 2006 gold. He also has two world championship golds in his collection.
In 93 games since 2004, the St-Pamphile, Que., native scored 15 goals and added 16 assists.
Nicholson, 41, joined the Canadian team in 1992. A five-time Paralympian, Nicholson won silver at the 1998 Games and bronze in 1994. The Kinburn, Ont., native, who also has two world titles on his resume, recorded 11 goals and 42 assists in 83 games since 2004.
Rosen, 50, was the oldest rookie in the history of Paralympic sledge hockey when he debuted on the international stage at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City at the age of 41.
The goaltender spent nine seasons with Canada, finishing with a 55-15-1 record, a 1.04 goals-against average and 25 shutouts in 72 career games.
A native of Thornhill, Ont., Rosen was a three-time Paralympian (2002, 2006, 2010), winning gold in 2006. He also helped lead Canada to world championship gold in 2008.