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Team Canada 2018 Paralympic Ice Hockey preview and schedule

Watch Toronto man Greg Westlake captain Team Canada in PyeongChang.

Toronto Star via Getty Images

The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games are here. The para ice hockey portion starts on Saturday, March 10, and runs for seven days, with the Bronze and Gold matches on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17, respectively. Because Team Canada won the Gold medal at the 2017 World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool, it is seeded in Group A, which draws relatively weaker competition en route to the semifinal games.

The last time Team Canada went to the Paralypics, it won the Bronze in Sochi. Ten players who were on the Bronze-medal team are back to play this year, and all except one were on the Gold-medal team that won the A-Pool in 2017. Canada has not won Paralympic Gold since 2006, but it goes into the Paralympics as first seed.

Paralympic Sledge Groups and Seeding

Group A (Seed) Group B (Seed)
Group A (Seed) Group B (Seed)
Canada (1) US (2)
Norway (4) South Korea (3)
Italy (5) Czech Republic (6)
Sweden (8) Japan (7)

Put simply, Paralympic sledge, now called Para Ice Hockey, uses IIHF hockey rules with the exception of a few things:

  • The three periods are 15 minutes long.
  • Players use a double-bladed sledge that allows the puck to pass beneath it during play.
  • Skaters use two sticks, each with a spike-end for propelling the skater along the ice, and a blade-end for shooting the puck.
  • “The goaltender may have an additional pick at the base end of his stick. The goaltender may also use an additional stick with a blade or a trapper glove with teeth.” (Source.)

How to watch Paralympic Sledge Hockey

Country Network Stream
Country Network Stream
Canada CBC (Eng)
Canada CBC (Fr)

The captain of Team Canada is Toronto native Greg Westlake, who won Paralympic Gold for Canada in 2006 and has been to every Paralympics since. He has this to tell you about competing in sledge (via the website).

I’m missing both my feet, so I’m a double-leg amputee below the knee. I learned to skate when I was three or four years old on two artificial legs, and grew up playing stand-up hockey. For me the frustrating thing was not excelling the way I thought I should in my mind. In my mind, I was put on this earth to play hockey. It’s all I’ve wanted to do since I came out of the womb. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be the first guy in the NHL with two artificial legs.

I didn’t know what sledge hockey was growing up. I’d never met anybody who was in a wheelchair. I’d never played against somebody else who was missing a leg. Once I was 15, 16 years old I got to go out and try sledge hockey, and I was able to look at it for what it was, and that it’s an amazing sport.

Westlake’s favorite NHL team is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Team Canada, under head coach Ken Babey, sent 15 skaters and 2 goaltenders to PyeongChang. Below is a profile of the team.

Team Canada Paralympic Sledge (Para Ice Hockey)

Name Position Number Hometown Age Background
Name Position Number Hometown Age Background
Dominic Larocque G 31 Quebec City, Que. 30 Began playing sledge hockey with the Windsor Ice Bullets in 2008.
Corbin Watson G 30 Kingsville, Ont. 30 Veteran. Began playing sledge hockey with the Transats de Montréal in 2010.
Tyrone Henry D 5 Ottawa, Ont. 24 Started playing sledge hockey with the Ottawa Falcons in 2011.
Rob Armstrong D 6 Erin, Ont. 21 Started playing sledge hockey in 2006 with the Mississauga Cruisers.
Adam Dixon D 11 Midland, Ont. 28 Began playing sledge hockey with the Elmvale Bears in 2000.
Steve Arsenault D 14 Spruce Grove, Alta. 29 Began playing sledge hockey with the PSA Dogs in Edmonton in 2004.
James Gemmell D 25 Quesnel, B.C. 37 Began playing sledge hockey with the B.C. Eagles in 2006.
Brad Bowden D 27 Orton, Ont. 34 Began playing sledge hockey with the Kitchener Sidewinders in 1991.
James Dunn F 4 Wallacetown, Ont. 17
Tyler McGregor F 8 Forest, Ont. 23 Started playing sledge hockey in 2011 with the London Blizzard.
Corbyn Smith F 9 Monkton, Ont. 19 Won a gold medal with Western Region at the 2016 Ontario Summer Games.
Ben Delaney F 10 Ottawa, Ont. 21 Started playing sledge hockey in 2010 with the Ottawa Sledgehammers.
Greg Westlake (C) F 12 Toronto, Ont. 31 Began playing sledge hockey with the Mississauga Cruisers in 2001.
Billy Bridges F 18 Summerside, PEI 33
Dominic Cozzolino F 18 Mississauga, Ont. 23 Started playing sledge hockey in 2012 with the Mississauga Cruisers.
Bryan Sholomicki F 20 Winnipeg, Man. 19 Started playing sledge hockey in 2012 with the Elmvale Bears.
Liam Hickey F 23 St. John's, N.L. 19 Started playing competitive sledge hockey with the Avalon Sled Dogs in 2009.

The Paralympic organizers worked with the time difference between North America and Korea as best they could, but note that most of the viewing times are either late for us (10 PM) or early (2 AM, 6 AM).

The full Paralympic schedule is here.

Paralympic Sledge Hockey Schedule 2018

Game Date (EST) Match Time (EST)
Game Date (EST) Match Time (EST)
1 Friday, March 9 NOR vs. ITA 10:00 PM
2 Saturday, March 10 KOR vs. JPN 1:30 AM
3 Saturday, March 10 CAN vs. SWE 5:00 AM
4 Saturday, March 10 USA vs. JPN 10:00 PM
5 Sunday, March 11 KOR vs. CZE 1:30 AM
6 Sunday, March 11 CAN vs. ITA 5:00 AM
7 Sunday, March 11 USA vs. CZE 10:00 PM
8 Monday, March 12 CAN vs. NOR 1:30 AM
9 Monday, March 12 ITA vs. SWE 5:00 AM
10 Monday, March 12 USA vs. KOR 10:00 PM
11 Tuesday, March 13 NOR vs. SWE 1:30 AM
12 Tuesday, March 13 CZE vs. JPN 5:00 AM
13 Wednesday, March 14 [Playoffs 1] 3rd (A) vs. 4th (B) 2:00 AM
14 Wednesday, March 14 [Playoffs 2] 3rd (B) vs. 4th (A) 6:00 AM
15 Wednesday, March 14 [Semifinals 1] 1st (A) vs. 2nd (B) 10:00 PM
16 Thursday, March 15 [Semifinals 2] 1st (B) vs. 2nd (A) 6:00 AM
17 Friday, March 16 Loser [Playoffs 1] vs. loser [Playoffs 2] 2:00 AM
18 Friday, March 16 Winner [Playoffs 1] vs. Winner [Playoffs 2] 6:00 AM
Bronze 19 Friday, March 16 Loser [Semifinal 1] vs. Loser [Semifinal 2] 10:00 PM
Gold 20 Saturday, March 17 Winner [Semi 1] vs. Winner [Semi 2] 10:00 PM