Excitement sparks for Canada at upcoming World Para Ice Hockey Championships

Canadian Paralympic Committee

June 18, 2021

Team reunites for biggest event before 2022 Paralympic Winter Games


OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Greg Westlake and his teammates watched Canada’s dramatic victory earlier this month at the men’s senior world championships and they want to relive that excitement at the World Para Ice Hockey Championships, taking place June 19-26 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The eight-country competition is the last big international clash before the Paralympic Winter Games next year. 

“We had the opportunity to watch the gold-medal game,” said four-time Paralympian Westlake about Canada’s victory over Finland for the title. “Watching that OT winner go in and watching the guys celebrate it gave us all goosebumps. It made you feel like anything is possible. 

“Maybe that will be us next which will create those lasting memories and that bond you’ll have with your teammates forever and inspire the next generation of kids watching at home as well.” 

The tournament promises to be a big test for the Canadians, who lost to the U.S. in the final at both the 2019 world championships, also held in Ostrava, and 2018 Paralympics in South Korea. Canada’s last world title was in 2017.

“We are putting it all out there for each other and the team because we know that we have a really good chance to win worlds and the Paralympics coming up, so we just want to work really hard for each other because we like to keep each other accountable,” said new team member Branden Sison.

Team Canada, who has had little opportunity to connect on the ice in the past 18 months, arrived in Ostrava a week early to get settled, practice and play a few pre-tournament games before it takes on the United States (June 19), South Korea (June 20) and host Czechs (June 22) in the preliminary round. 

“We have done the best we can do in our situation, but there is nothing like being on the ice together, talking with the players and directing them on corrections, or even adding in progressions on drills and systems,” said Canada’s head coach Ken Babey, as the team reunited after a long separation due to the pandemic.

“We’re so excited to play, we’re so exited to have that opportunity to represent our country and we can’t wait to get going over here,” said Westlake in a Hockey Canada video blog from Ostrava. “It’s been quite a journey to get to this point.”

“This is a team that’s used to battling adversity. Whether you’re a cancer survivor, military veteran or gone through some life-changing event, everybody on our team knows how to handle adversity.” 

Veteran Tyler McGregor is also looking forward to seeing people in the stands as well. There will be some fans in attendance at the world championships. 

“From my perspective, it will be so refreshing to see fans in the building,” the team captain said. “It is just being assured that the world is finally healing.”

Following the preliminary rounds, the semifinals will take place June 25 with the medal games on June 26. 

“[The] gold medal is what we go for, always,” said defencemen Liam Hickey. ‘’Hockey Canada as an organization doesn’t want to settle for anything less and we don’t either. That has been the main goal and something for all of us to focus on throughout the pandemic.”

Audiences across the country can watch Canada’s games live and on-demand at Paralympic.ca and the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Facebook page. CLICK HERE for more broadcast information. 

With files from Hockey Canada

Can Crew Newsletter

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

"*" indicates required fields