A stellar year for Para ice hockey saw the USA crowned the first ever Pan Pacific champions, Austria promoted to the B-Pool and Czech Republic, Japan and Slovakia progress to the Qualification Tournament for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
A jam-packed 12 months which saw the road to PyeongChang begin in earnest enters as No.28 in the International Paralympic Committee’s Top 50 Moments of 2016.
At the 2016 Worlds C-Pool Austria claimed gold and promotion after a dramatic 1-0 win over Finland on penalties in Novi Sad, Serbia.
Thomas Schilcher scored the lone goal, giving his team the 1-0 victory. For his performance, Schilcher was named Player of the Game.
Austria also impressed with an 11-0 win over Belgium/Netherlands on their way to the final.
The USA won the first-ever Pan Pacific Championships in April, defeating Canada 4-1 on home ice at the HABORCENTER in Buffalo, New York.
They are now the reigning Paralympic, world and Pan Pacific champions, extending their recent dominance in the sport across all tournaments.
“It’s a feeling of elation,” US goaltender Steve Cash said at the time. “Every season we begin, you’ve got to get the momentum going again. Every season’s a fresh start beginning in August and September, so to have it culminate in something like this shows that the hard work pays off.”
Then 18-year-old forward Declan Farmer scored twice in the second period to finish his season with 13 goals, a new single-season record for the US national sledge hockey team.
Farmer was named the tournament’s Best Forward after leading all skaters with eight points and six goals, while Josh Pauls was named Best Defenseman and Canada’s Corbin Watson honoured as Best Goaltender.
The trio of great Para ice hockey moments for 2016 is crowned by the Czech Republic’s unbeaten win at the Worlds B-Pool in Tomakomai, Japan, in December.
With 22 goals and a clean sheet across four game, the team secured gold and one of three slots at the PyeongChang 2018 Qualification Tournament scheduled for 2017. Michal Geier scored five of their six goals against hosts Japan in the final.
The Czech Republic will be joined by Japan and Slovakia at the Qualification Tournament, whilst the bottom three finishers from the 2017 World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool will also get the chance to qualify.
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2016, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website.