In preparation for the 2019 IPC World Para Hockey Championship, Canada’s National Para Hockey Team is heading south of the border to Indian Trail, N.C., for a two-game series against the United States on March 22-23.
The team gathered in February for a training camp in Calgary, including on- and off-ice training sessions, strategy meetings and nutrition consulting, all in preparation for the world championship, April 27 to May 4 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and to focus on building a strong base ahead of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.
“This group has really grown through the season,” says head coach Ken Babey. “They have been putting in the work, individually and as a team, and it has been encouraging to see a group that is willing to work and fight for each other. I’m looking forward to getting back together in North Carolina and using the U.S. series as a benchmark for the progress we’ve made.”
The roster for North Carolina will feature 19 of the silver medallists from the 2018 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup (Armstrong, Auclair, Cozzolino, Crane, Dolan, Dunn, Gemmell, Henry, Hickey, Kovacevich, Jacobs-Webb, Larocque, Lavin, Lehoux, McGregor, Riley, Smith, Sorley, Watson), as well as the return of veteran Greg Westlake and the addition of rookie Auren Halbert.
The Canadian roster for the U.S. series also includes:
- 11 players who won a gold medal at the 2017 IPC World Para Hockey Championship (Armstrong, Cozzolino, Gemmell, Henry, Hickey, Larocque, McGregor, Smith, Sorley, Watson, Westlake)
- 11 players who won a silver medal at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea (Armstrong, Cozzolino, Dunn, Gemmell, Henry, Hickey, Larocque, McGregor, Smith, Watson, Westlake)