Prince Harry, Canadian athletes say Toronto Invictus Games can help injured soldiers heal

Britain's Prince Harry said he believes sport has the power to help soldiers recover after being injured in the line of duty.

British prince and former soldier joins Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for high-profile announcement

Prince Harry, standing right, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, centre right, and Toronto Mayor John Tory, centre left, helped coach the Canadian sledge-hockey team on Monday as they launched the 2017 Invictus Games. (John Rieti/CBC)

Britain's Prince Harry said he believes sport has the power to help soldiers recover after being injured in the line of duty. If you need proof, the prince said, you should go to the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

Harry, who appeared alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Toronto Mayor John Tory for a series of events, has been the force behind the Invictus Games since his time serving in Afghanistan with the British military.

Team Canada athletes who will be competing at this year's Invictus Games in Orlando, Fla., said they're living proof that the prince is right.

"I truly believe the Invictus Games have saved lives," said Canadian Forces  Capt. Simon Mailloux.

Here's more on the coming games and what they mean to those involved.

"We created a platform which helped to smash the stigma that existed around [veterans'] injuries, particularly for those missing limbs, who showed that they weren't afraid to talk about their experiences. They showed us that despite huge adversity, the impossible was possible," said Britain's Prince Harry. 

Dominic Larocque, a veteran who lost part of his left leg in Afghanistan, is now one of the goalies for Canada's national sledge-hockey team. He urged the crowd to not let anyone tell them what they can't do.

In the stands, former Team Canada goalie Paul Rosen said he still remembers the first time Laroque showed up at the rink. Rosen said sledge hockey was the perfect thing for the injured soldier, who was still struggling to come to terms with losing his leg.

"It's understanding you can be great again," Rosen said.

"I think everybody on the team thinks of him as a hero, I know I do."

The Invictus Games are most important "so we don't hide our wounded," said Master Cpl. Paul Franklin, an Edmonton medic who lost both of his legs in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. "Rehab through sport works and it will always work."

Bruno Gvillarmont, Team Canada's captain at this year's Games, was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010. He said for him, training is crucial to coping. Sport, he said, "brings me back, personally, to the top of my game."

Other athletes echoed similar sentiments.

"Sometimes we don't trust our limbs anymore, we don't trust our mind anymore, we don't know who we are. Sport helps us rediscover who we are and what we can be," said Capt. Simon Mailloux.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined Prince Harry for the event. Trudeau praised the soldier-athletes on hand, saying: "These individuals, as the name Invictus suggests, are unconquerable."