Canada wins the gold medal at Para ice hockey world championships

Canadian Paralympic Committee

May 13, 2024

First title since 2017 as Kingsmill sparkles in goal

Team Canada

CALGARY – Canada produced a remarkable victory on Sunday night as it stunned the USA 2-1 to win the gold medal at the Para ice hockey world championships held this past week at WinSport.

It was Canada’s first world crown since 2017 and its first victory over the Americans after 23 straight losses dating back to the 2021 worlds final.

‘’I feel so much love for the 16 players I get to share this jersey with,’’ said Canada’s team captain Tyler McGregor of Forest, Ont., one of eight players who were on that 2017 world champion squad.  ‘’We have a support staff that is so committed and care so much. It’s about the people who show up every day and this is probably one of the most resilient group of people I’ve ever been a part of.’’

As the Americans dominated the sport from 2017 on, there was heavy pressure on the Canadian program not to fall too far behind their archrivals.

‘’We have been through some really rough times,’’ said McGregor, who lost his leg to cancer as a teenager. ‘’But at the end of the day you find out who is in your corner and man it feels good to be on the other side.’’

In Sunday’s thriller, the Canadians blasted out of the gates with Dominic Cozzolino of Mississauga, Ont., scoring at the 35 second mark. Canada survived two American power plays before Anton Jacobs-Webb of Gatineau put the home team up 2-0 at 9:06 of the second. McGregor won a battle behind the net and made a perfect pass to Jacobs-Webb in the slot.

‘’It’s surreal,’’ said Jacobs-Webb, savouring his first world crown. ‘’For me it’s just the faces on the guys who have worked so damn hard to be here. We had a lot of belief on our team This goes deep and every guy bought in that we were doing the right things.’’

The star of the game was goaltender Adam Kingsmill of Smithers, B.C., who was credited with 18 saves many at point blank range. He received the game MVP honours for Canada.

‘’It’s such an emotional moment right now,’’ said Kingsmill, who’ll graduate in athletic therapy from Mount Royal University in Calgary later this month.

‘’It’s always been my dream to win on the world stage. I have a hard time not looking forward right now to the next worlds (in 2025) and the Paralympic Games (2026). We’ll keep plugging away.’’

The Americans put heavy pressure on Canada throughout the third and eventually  got on the scoreboard when Declan Farmer scored with 3:41 remaining.

But the Canadians emphasis on a strong defence continued to pay off and they continued to break American plays for the net until the last second.

‘’We did a good job of keeping them to the outside but really it was an incredible effort by the team,’’ said Canada’s head coach Russ Herrington. ‘’What a fantastic hockey game. Para hockey is so good when it is played at the highest level.

‘’We are just trying to represent Canada the best we can and we are so appreciative of the fans who came here on Mother’s Day and gave us that extra boost of energy.’’

Canada opened the tournament with three easy victories over Japan, Italy and Czechia in the preliminary round before edging China 2-1 in the semifinal on Friday.

Cozzolino was named the top forward of the tournament as he was second in Canadian team scoring with 16 points (6 goals-10 assists). Liam Hickey of St. John’s N.L., led the team with 17 points while McGregor also collected 16 points with nine goals.

The Czech Republic won the bronze for a second straight year defeating China 3-2. South Korea defeated Slovakia 3-1 for fifth and Italy edged Japan 1-0 for seventh.

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