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)
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

CanadaCBC (Eng)
CanadaCBC (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)

Dominic LarocqueG31Quebec City, Que.30 Began playing sledge hockey with the Windsor Ice Bullets in 2008.
Corbin WatsonG30Kingsville, Ont.30Veteran. Began playing sledge hockey with the Transats de Montréal in 2010.
Tyrone HenryD5Ottawa, Ont.24Started playing sledge hockey with the Ottawa Falcons in 2011.
Rob ArmstrongD6Erin, Ont.21Started playing sledge hockey in 2006 with the Mississauga Cruisers.
Adam DixonD11Midland, Ont.28Began playing sledge hockey with the Elmvale Bears in 2000.
Steve ArsenaultD14Spruce Grove, Alta.29Began playing sledge hockey with the PSA Dogs in Edmonton in 2004.
James GemmellD25Quesnel, B.C.37Began playing sledge hockey with the B.C. Eagles in 2006.
Brad BowdenD27Orton, Ont.34Began playing sledge hockey with the Kitchener Sidewinders in 1991.
James DunnF4Wallacetown, Ont.17
Tyler McGregorF8Forest, Ont.23Started playing sledge hockey in 2011 with the London Blizzard.
Corbyn SmithF9Monkton, Ont.19Won a gold medal with Western Region at the 2016 Ontario Summer Games.
Ben DelaneyF10Ottawa, Ont.21Started playing sledge hockey in 2010 with the Ottawa Sledgehammers.
Greg Westlake (C)F12Toronto, Ont.31Began playing sledge hockey with the Mississauga Cruisers in 2001.
Billy BridgesF18Summerside, PEI33
Dominic CozzolinoF18Mississauga, Ont.23Started playing sledge hockey in 2012 with the Mississauga Cruisers.
Bryan SholomickiF20Winnipeg, Man.19Started playing sledge hockey in 2012 with the Elmvale Bears.
Liam HickeyF23St. John's, N.L.19Started 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

GameDate (EST)MatchTime (EST)
1Friday, March 9NOR vs. ITA10:00 PM
2Saturday, March 10KOR vs. JPN1:30 AM
3Saturday, March 10CAN vs. SWE5:00 AM
4Saturday, March 10USA vs. JPN10:00 PM
5Sunday, March 11KOR vs. CZE1:30 AM
6Sunday, March 11CAN vs. ITA5:00 AM
7Sunday, March 11USA vs. CZE10:00 PM
8Monday, March 12CAN vs. NOR1:30 AM
9Monday, March 12ITA vs. SWE5:00 AM
10Monday, March 12USA vs. KOR10:00 PM
11Tuesday, March 13NOR vs. SWE1:30 AM
12Tuesday, March 13CZE vs. JPN5:00 AM
13Wednesday, March 14[Playoffs 1] 3rd (A) vs. 4th (B)2:00 AM
14Wednesday, March 14[Playoffs 2] 3rd (B) vs. 4th (A)6:00 AM
15Wednesday, March 14[Semifinals 1] 1st (A) vs. 2nd (B)10:00 PM
16Thursday, March 15[Semifinals 2] 1st (B) vs. 2nd (A)6:00 AM
17Friday, March 16Loser [Playoffs 1] vs. loser [Playoffs 2]2:00 AM
18Friday, March 16Winner [Playoffs 1] vs. Winner [Playoffs 2]6:00 AM
Bronze 19Friday, March 16Loser [Semifinal 1] vs. Loser [Semifinal 2]10:00 PM
Gold 20Saturday, March 17Winner [Semi 1] vs. Winner [Semi 2]10:00 PM