CALGARY, Alta. – Canada’s National Sledge Team meets this year’s IPC World Para Hockey Championship host South Korea Monday in its opening game of the 2017 International Para Hockey Tournament in Turin, Italy.
The event is the team’s final international competition before worlds April 11-20, 2017, in Gangneung, South Korea.
A roster of 17 players have travelled to Italy to take part in the four-nation tournament next week featuring Canada, host Italy, Norway, and South Korea.
“We’re coming off a strong camp in Calgary earlier this month, but nothing prepares you as a coach, as a player, and as a team like tournament action,” said head coach Ken Babey of the importance of next week’s tournament in Canada’s National Sledge Team’s ultimate goal of bringing home gold at the IPC World Para Hockey Championship in April. “As the sport grows, so do the opportunities for us to play more games and test ourselves against the international field. This tournament is another marker in our journey to worlds, and our quest for the gold medal.”
The 17-player roster comprises goaltenders Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) and Corbin Watson (Kingsville, Ont.); defencemen Rob Armstrong (Erin, Ont.), Steve Arsenault (Spruce Grove, Alta.), Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.), James Gemmell (Quesnel, B.C), Tyrone Henry (Ottawa), and Kevin Sorley (Petersburg, Ont.); as well as forwards Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, Ont.), Ben Delaney (Ottawa), Liam Hickey (St. John’s, N.L.), and Antoine Lehoux (Thetford Mines, Que.), Tyler McGregor (Forest, Ont.), Zach Savage (Westlock, Alta.), Bryan Sholomicki (Winnipeg), Corbyn Smith (Monkton, Ont.), and Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.).
Veterans Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.) and Billy Bridges (Summerside, P.E.I.), and rookie James Dunn (Wallacetown, Ont.) remain in Canada due to injury and maintenance, with the goal they’d be available for the IPC World Para Hockey Championship in April.
At the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, P.E.I., in December, Canada lost only two games, both times to the United States, including a 2-1 overtime loss in preliminary-round action and dropping a 5-2 decision in the gold-medal game.