(ISN) – With 100 days to until the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Buffalo, USA, US team captain Josh Sweeney has warned rival nations that his Paralympic gold medal winning side from Sochi 2014 is now even stronger heading into April’s event.
From 24 April-2 May, the world’s eight best teams will be in Buffalo, USA, for the World Championships, the biggest competition since the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
In Sochi, the USA defeated Russia 1:0 to win gold, whilst defending world champions Canada took bronze with a 3:0 victory over Norway. Forward Sweeney, who posted four goals and four assists in 12 games last season, believes his team will be the one to beat in Buffalo.
“I think that the US team going into Buffalo is stronger physically,” said Sweeney who scored the winning goal in Sochi, a feat that saw his name trend globally on Twitter, such was the worldwide coverage of the game.
“I feel like we are even faster than we were in the Paralympics but some of the guys have retired, so we have lost the people who have been on the team for nine plus years with the experience they have.
“Whilst we are stronger, we don’t have that experience that we had going into the Paralympics, but I think we are stronger overall.”
The eight teams competing in Buffalo have been split into two groups, with only the top two teams in each progressing through to the semi-finals.
Defending champions and Sochi bronze medallists Canada are drawn in Group A alongside Czech Republic, Norway and Japan.
Group B will feature hosts USA, who finished with world silver in 2013, Russia, Italy and Germany.