Brad Bowden, sledge hockey

Brad Bowden, 30, started playing hockey with able-bodied kids in 1991, in Kitchener, Ont. He started playing sledge hockey in 1995. (Courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee)

Brad Bowden, 30, has represented Canada at two Paralympic Winter Games, one Paralympic Summer Games and six IPC World Championships. He is a three-time world champion in sledge hockey and helped Canada to Paralympic gold in 2006 and fourth place in 2010. A member of the national sledge team since 1999, he missed the 2002 Paralympics due to a thumb injury.

He scored the winning goal against Norway in the final of the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Turin.

In 2010, he was named Most Valuable Player at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and became the first Paralympian to be inducted to the Orangeville Hall of Fame. 

In 2013, Bowden savoured victory at three tournaments: the World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Toronto, the Four Nations Tournament in Sochi and the IPC World Championships in Goyang, South Korea. In 2012, he was a silver medallist at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge and collected bronze at the worlds.

Bowden was also previously a member of Canada’s wheelchair basketball team, earning gold at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens and 2006 World Cup. He was born with sacral agenesis, a spinal deformity.

Bowden, who was born in Mississauga, Ont., calls his grandmother, Colleen Nelson, who died in 2006, the most influential person in his career.

“I never wanted to get out of the house to try sledge hockey but she forced me to go,” he said. “She knew me better than anybody.”

Courtesy of the Canadian Paralympic Committee