CALGARY, Alta. – Canada’s National Para Hockey Team has finalized its roster and is set to defend its world title at the 2019 IPC World Para Hockey Championship, April 27-May 4 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Canada’s coaching and management staff selected the 17 players following a season of training camps and international competition, which included a silver-medal performance at the 2018 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup in London, Ont., and a two-game series split against the United States in Indian Trail, N.C., last month.
“Having to narrow it down is never easy, but the team we put together has the right mix of skill, speed and experience to give us the best chance at a gold medal,” said head coach Ken Babey. “They’ve been putting in the work individually, and their improvement over the season has been noticeable on the ice. We’re confident that our individual abilities, team tactics and team spirit will give us an opportunity to compete for gold.”
The roster, which includes two goaltenders, six defencemen and nine forwards, is a mix of internationally-seasoned veterans and youth. It includes:
- Four players making their world championship debut (Crane, Lavin, Lehoux, Riley);
- 12 players who won gold at the 2017 IPC World Para Hockey Championship (Armstrong, Bridges, Cozzolino, Gemmell, Henry, Hickey, Larocque, McGregor, Smith, Sorley, Watson, Westlake);
- 12 players who earned silver at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Armstrong, Bridges, Cozzolino, Dunn, Gemmell, Henry, Hickey, Larocque, McGregor, Smith, Watson, Westlake); and
- 16 players who took silver at the 2018 Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup (Armstrong, Bridges, Cozzolino, Crane, Dunn, Gemmell, Henry, Hickey, Larocque, Lavin, Lehoux, McGregor, Riley, Smith, Sorley, Watson).
Canada is a four-time gold medallist at the IPC World Para Hockey Championship (2000, 2008, 2013, 2017), along with one silver medal (2015) and three bronze (1996, 2009, 2012). Only once since the first para worlds in 1996 has Canada failed to make the podium.