Canada pleased with progress at Para Hockey Cup

Canadian Paralympic Committee

December 07, 2023

Faces China in semifinals on Friday

Tyler McGregor

QUISPAMSIS, N.B. – Tyrone Henry believes Canada has reached the point where it is crucial to stick with the overall game plan as the team builds towards the 2026 Paralympic Winter Games in Milan-Cortina Italy.

The Canadian Para hockey team veteran defenceman from Ottawa doesn’t want his teammates to be discouraged after a 5-0 loss to the U.S. on Wednesday at the Para Hockey Cup, the annual international tournament hosted by Hockey Canada.

“We need more of the same; trust the process, trust in the direction we are taking right now,’’ said Henry after the loss to the four-time reigning Paralympic Games champions. ‘’We are doing a good job of playing our style of hockey and I think if we maintain all of that, keep going down that pathway, we will be successful.’’

Canada opened the tournament Sunday with a 4-1 victory over China and then blanked Czechia 3-0 on Monday. The Chinese are the surprise of the tournament so far as they upset Czechia, the world championship bronze medallists, 4-1 on Wednesday.

Head coach Russ Hetherington wants his troops to focus on the positives especially after the U.S. game where Canada had its opportunities and sent a message it is on the improvement fast track.

“When you play a team like the United States and have quality chances like we did tonight, you have to make them count,’’ he said. ‘’It makes you feel good about yourself and puts a shred of doubt in the opposition.’’

Canada has iced a 20-member squad for the tournament. There is a mix of veterans and youth. Six players are back from the 2022 Paralympic team that won silver in Beijing (Henry, James Dunn, Anton Jacobs-Webb, Adam Kingsmill, Tyler McGregor and Liam Hickey). Twelve are back from last year’s team that was second at the world championships in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Dominic Cozzolino and McGregor are Canada’s leading scorer in the tournament with six points each.  Cozzolino has potted four goals while McGregor tops the team with five assists.

Fifteen-year-old rookie, Jonathan Daigle of Boucherville, Que., notched his first two career national team points and the team’s other rookie, goaltender Mitchell Garrett of Surrey, B.C., played 15 minutes to share the shutout with Kingsmill against the Czechs.

“It was incredible,’’ said Daigle after his first game. ‘’It is a dream come true to play for Team Canada and to have my first assist on my first shift of the game was amazing; I hope it is the first of many. I am thinking about what I can do to help my team and I just try to do my best. I am so grateful for the opportunity.”

A notable absentee from the 2023 worlds was Liam Hickey of St. John’s N.L.

“It almost makes me emotional because I have been away for a while dealing with my injury since last February,’’ said Hickey. ‘’It was nice to get back into a groove, I missed my teammates so much, so being able to represent my country with all of them is very special.’’

There’s been some history as well this week as Tara Chisholm became the first woman to work as an assistant coach with the national Para hockey team. Chisholm is a trailblazer in women’s Para hockey both as a player and coach.

“It is always exciting to get going in a tournament like this, get your first game under your belt,’’ said Chisholm, head coach of the women’s team for the past 10 years.

Canada faces China in the semifinal on Friday at 7 p.m. (local) and the final is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. TSN and RDS will broadcast the medal games on Saturday, Dec. 9. All games are available on a pay-per-view basis at

Can Crew Newsletter

Receive the latest news, athlete stories, and behind-the-scenes access directly to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields