Hockey Canada unveils men's Paralympic hockey team
Squad will begin quest for gold in Pyeongchang starting on March 10
Hockey Canada has unveiled the team that hopes to win gold in men's para ice hockey for the first time in more than a decade at the 2018 Winter Games next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The 17-player roster, which was revealed by head coach Ken Babey in Toronto on Sunday, will feature some familiar faces.
Three of its most veteran players are defenceman Brad Bowden of Orton, Ont., as well as forwards Billy Bridges of Summerside, P.E.I., and Greg Westlake of Toronto, who helped Canada earn its last Paralympic para ice hockey gold at the 2006 Torino Games.
Ten players — including Bowden, Bridges and Westlake — also wore the maple leaf for the team that captured bronze at the 2014 Games in Sochi:
- Goalies Dominic Larocque of Quebec City and Corbin Watson of Kingsville, Ont.
- Defencemen Steve Arsenault of Spruce Grove, Alta., Adam Dixon of Midland, Ont., James Gemmell of Quesnel, B.C.
- Forwards Ben Delaney of Ottawa, Tyler McGregor of Forest, Ont.
Defencemen Rob Armstrong of Erin, Ont., and Tyrone Henry of Ottawa round out the back end.
While Dominic Cozzolino of Mississauga, Ont., James Dunn of Wallacetown, Ont., Liam Hickey of St. John's, N.L. Bryan Sholomicki of Winnipeg and Corbyn Smith of Monkton, Ont., complete the forward corps.
In total, 16 of the 17 players on the roster helped Canada win at last April's World Para Hockey Championship in Gangneung, South Korea.
Hockey Canada named 20 players to its squad for the 2017-18 season in September. Its final training camp was held earlier this week in Port Colborne, Ont., and the team was narrowed down from that roster.
Babey said selecting the final squad was "not an easy decision."
"Our players have pushed each other all year to put us in the best possible position to win a gold medal," he said in a press release.
"We're excited to get to Pyeongchang, put on the Team Canada jersey, and represent our country with pride."
Westlake will captain the squad, while Dixon, McGregor and Sholomicki will wear the "A."
"These four players were named to our leadership group last season and continue to set the example on-and-off the ice for our group," said Babey.
"This is a confident group and we know they'll be successful in leading our team into Pyeongchang."
Westlake said at the announcement that the team intends to come home with a gold medal.
"We believe we can do it and we've done everything right to prepare," he said.
The eight-nation men's hockey tournament runs from March 9-17 at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.
Canada begins its bid for gold with a match against Sweden on March 10 at 5 a.m. ET.