Celebrating 25 years of Para sport: 2006 a golden year for Para ice hockey and wheelchair curling

Canadian Paralympic Committee

June 17, 2021

Canada wins both team events on the ice at Torino 2006

Pfizer 2006

Two of Canada’s biggest sports are hockey and curling. And in Paralympic sport, 2006 was Canada’s banner year on the ice. 
This is the first – and currently, only – time Canada has won gold in both Para ice hockey and wheelchair curling at the Paralympic Winter Games. 

Led by Opening Ceremony flag bearer Todd Nicholson at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, Canada’s Para ice hockey squad posted two wins and a loss in the round robin. Canada soundly defeated Great Britain and Italy before falling to Norway by a 4-1 score for second in its pool. In the semifinals, the Canadians blanked Germany 5-0.

The final was a rematch against Norway, and Canada was looking for a reversal of its round-robin result. Canada ultimately posted a 3-0 victory, with Brad Bowden, Greg Westlake and Billy Bridges scoring in each period. 

Bridges (who alongside Westlake will be competing for Canada at the upcoming 2021 World Para Ice Hockey Championships) ended the tournament with 18 points, the most of any player. 

Canada – a four-time world champion in the sport – is still looking for its next Paralympic gold medal. The team also has two silver and two bronze medals to its name. 
Wheelchair curling made its Paralympic debut in 2006, with Canada making history as the first-ever champion at the Games. 

Chris Daw skipped Canada to gold with a 5-2 record in round-robin action, with victories over Norway in the semifinals and Great Britain in the final. Gerry Austgarden, Gary Cormack, Sonja Gaudet and Karen Blachford rounded out the team. 

Gaudet would go on to be part of Canada’s 2010 and 2014 gold medal winning teams as well, as the nation proved its dominance in the sport.

Canada’s gold medals in Para ice hockey and wheelchair curling were two of five gold medals and 13 overall for the Canadians, which maintained their sixth-place standing in the medal rankings from 2002 in Salt Lake City.

Brian McKeever, who will be vying for more gold at his sixth career Winter Paralympics in 2022, was the big individual star with four medals including two gold in cross-country skiing with his brother Robin as his guide. 

Alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft, the big star from the 2010 Games that followed in Vancouver, added a win in the giant slalom as well as a silver in the Super G. 

The Para ice hockey team, McKeever, and Woolstencroft took the top team and athlete awards at the 2007 IPC Awards for their performances in Torino. 

Other double medallists for Canada were Para alpine skier Chris Williamson and his guide Robert Taylor with silver in the downhill and bronze in the super G while Colette Bourgonje, recently announced as an inductee into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, added two bronze in cross country.

The other Canadian medallist was Kimberly Joines with bronze in the sitting Super G.

This year, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Pfizer Canada are celebrating 25 years of supporting and promoting the Paralympic Movement together. Throughout 2021, we will look back on special sporting moments and milestones from each year of the partnership. 

Click here to read each moment so far.  

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