CALGARY, Alta. – Bridgewater, N.S., has been selected to host some of the world’s best high-performance sledge hockey players for the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge. The annual event, which has become a staple of the international sledge hockey calendar, runs Jan. 17-23 at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre.
Canada’s National Sledge Team will face off against three countries in a battle for gold. In the tournament’s eight-year history, Canada has won five gold medals, two silver and one bronze. Canada beat Korea 4-1 in the bronze-medal game at the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Leduc, Alta.
“We just finished a great development camp with our national sledge players in Calgary last week in preparation for the upcoming season,” said Shawn Bullock, senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams for Hockey Canada. “Our players are excited to play on home soil in front of our fans and we look forward to showcasing our sport to the Bridgewater community and the province of Nova Scotia.”
The tournament kicks off with its first games on Jan. 17, 2016, while the gold-medal and bronze-medal games are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23.
“We are honoured that the province of Nova Scotia and the County of Lunenburg was selected to host this prestigious event, and we’re excited for fans to see the world’s elite players take to the ice for the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge,” said Dave Waters, co-chair of the World Sledge Hockey Challenge host committee. “We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase our community and we want to ensure that our fans will keep great memories of this event.”
As hosts, Bridgewater and Lunenburg County will welcome the players, coaches, and staff for Team Canada and three other countries, who will be announced at a later date. Hockey Canada and Hockey Nova Scotia are partnering with the local host committee to deliver on the week-long event, which comes to Nova Scotia for the first time in its eight-year history.
Hockey Nova Scotia has registered sledge programs in Halifax, Kentville and Sydney for a total of approximately 60 players annually. They also have a “Learn to Sledge” program in conjunction with Easter Seals that reaches out to 20 participants annually.
“All our volunteers are working toward the same goal. Everyone is excited to be working on an international event with Hockey Canada”, said Joanne Cooper, chair of Events Lunenburg County. “We can’t wait for the event to start and show to the province the exciting sport of sledge hockey.”