Billy Bridges

Photo: Billy Bridges

 

Billy Bridges scored two goals in the third place game against Norway at the Sochi Paralympics in 2014 to help Canada to a 3-0 victory and the bronze medal.  The victory also ended Norway’s streak of reaching the podium at every Paralympic Games since sledge hockey was added to the program in 1994.

Sochi was a fourth Paralympic Games for Bridges, regarded among the best sledge hockey players of all time. He was on Canada’s fourth-place teams in 2002 and 2010 and took gold in 2006. At the 2006 Paralympic Games, he was named to the tournament all-star team. He is also a six-time world team member, including Canada’s 2000, 2008 and 2013 gold medal squads. In 2013, Bridges helped Canada to gold at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Toronto and the Four Nations Tournament in Sochi.

In 2012, highlights for Bridges included silver at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge and bronze at the IPC World Championships. In 2010, he became the first national team player to record in 200 points and 100 career goals and in 2011 he collected his 100th assist.

One of his greatest performances came at the 2009 Hockey Canada Cup in Vancouver. He led all scorers with nine goals and six assists as Canada roared to a gold medal.

He was born with Spina Bifida which limits his mobility. He uses crutches and sometimes a wheelchair. The 15-year national team veteran has a one-arm slapshot that’s been clocked at 80 miles per hour.

Bridges is married to three-time Canadian ice hockey Olympian goalie Sami Jo Small. They met in 2006 and married in July 2011. He has taught her how to play sledge hockey, and she often guards the net when he practices with teammates.

Bridges played wheelchair basketball professionally in Spain. As a member of Team Ontario, he won seven consecutive national championships and a gold medal at the Canada Games. He also helped Canada to gold at the 2001 World Junior Wheelchair Basketball Championships. He also competes in wheelchair tennis on professional circuits and is ranked in the top-200 in the world. 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

World champion in 2000, 2008, 2013… four-time Paralympian (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014)….Paralympic champion in 2006 and bronze medallist in 2014 …First national sledge team player to record 200 points, 100 goals, 100 assists.

PERSONAL

FAMILY: Son of Charles and Mary… Has two brothers, Danny and Ben, and two sisters, Elissa and Katie… He is married to former women’s national team member Sami Jo Small.

GETTING INTO THE SPORT: Began playing sledge hockey with the Kitchener Sidewinders in 1997 at the age of 12… He made his national team debut in 1998 aged 14, at the time making him Team Canada’s youngest ever player.

ODDS AND ENDS: Was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002 … Favorite NHL player: Alexander Ovechkin… Favorite NHL team: Montreal Canadiens... studied English literature at the University of Toronto… In 2011 and 2012 he was named Mississauga Disabled Athlete of the Year… He is a spokesperson for Right to Play, an organization that promotes a healthier and safer world for children through sport... He enjoys music and has released his own CD.

Medals

GamesSportEventMedal
2006 Torino ParalympicsSledge HockeyIce Sledge Hockey - Mixedgold
2014 Sochi ParalympicsSledge HockeyIce Sledge Hockey - Mixedbronze

Summary

Games Sport Event Result
2014 Sochi Paralympics Sledge Hockey Ice Sledge Hockey - Mixed 3
2010 Vancouver Paralympics Sledge Hockey Ice Sledge Hockey - Mixed 4
2006 Torino Paralympics Sledge Hockey Ice Sledge Hockey - Mixed 1
2002 Salt Lake City Paralympics Sledge Hockey Ice Sledge Hockey - Mixed 4