Re-enforced Canadian team brings confidence for Para ice hockey worlds May 4-12 in Calgary

Canadian Paralympic Committee

May 02, 2024

Veterans Watson, Hickey back in line-up


CALGARY – Forward Liam Hickey and goaltender Corbin Watson, two absentees last season, are back in the Team Canada line up for the eight-country 2024 World Para Ice Hockey Championships which gets underway Saturday at WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

The Canadians have finished second to the Americans at the last three worlds (2019, 2021, 2023) and are hoping to swing that momentum this year on home ice. Head coach Russ Herrington is pleased with his squad’s progress in 2023-24 which included a silver medal at the Para Hockey Cup and close games in a couple of exhibition series against the Americans.

‘’We are at a level of confidence that we maybe haven’t had probably since going back to 2017 (when Canada last won worlds gold),’’ said Herrington, from Unionville, Ont. ‘’We’ve shown a lot of growth in a number of areas particularly defensively and shown an ability to be better at making plays under pressure.’’

This year’s worlds team is comprised of three goaltenders, five defence and 11 forwards – including 13 members of the team that won a silver medal last year in Moose Jaw, Sask. At the 2023 worlds, forward Hickey of St. John’s N.L. was out of the line-up with a concussion.

‘’Liam is definitely a difference maker for us,” said Herrington. ‘’It was a tough injury for him last year. He is just starting to get to where he was when he was at his best a couple of years ago so that’s exciting to see.’’

Hickey was injured in an intrasquad game in February 2023. While the recovery period was difficult at times, he’s says he’s been symptom free this season. He returned for the Para Hockey Cup in December earning three points and scored in each of the exhibition series against the Americans.

At his last two worlds (2019 and 2021) Hickey was second in Canadian scoring just one point behind Tyler McGregor each time.

‘’Getting back to game speed has been the biggest challenge because I was out such a long time,” said Hickey, 26, a two-time Paralympian in Para ice hockey and a 2016 Paralympian in wheelchair basketball.

‘’But once I got back, the players and staff were super supportive. The medical staff both here with the national team and home has been world class and have monitored my progress.’’

Canada opens the tournament Saturday against Japan, then face Italy on Sunday and conclude the preliminary round Tuesday May 7 against Czechia. Playoff matches are May 8, 10 and 11. The other pool is comprised of the U.S., South Korea, China and Slovakia.

Watson, a two-time Paralympian (2014, 2018) from Kingsville, Ont., made his first start in over four years last month in an exhibition game against the Americans. He made 23 saves in a stellar performance. He is the all-time leader in games played (84), wins (62) and shutouts (29) by a Team Canada goaltender.

Last season’s tandem of Dominic Larocque and Jean-François Huneault are out with injuries.

‘’To have experienced goaltenders like Corbin and Adam Kingsmill settles our nerves and gives us some depth in the crease,’’ said Herrington. ‘’That’s important in this kind of tournament.’’

The Canadian team is led offensively by its captain Tyler McGregor of Forest, Ont. and Dominic Cozzolino of Mississauga, Ont., while Rob Armstrong and Tyrone Henry, both of Ottawa, anchor a strong defence.

‘’We are excited for this opportunity,’’ said Hickey. ‘’We have our eyes set for the 2026 Paralympics and these worlds going to be a major step towards our ultimate goal at those Games.’’

For more information:

Hockey Canada  

Team rosters

Tournament schedule

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