The undeniable thrills and spills of Para Ice Hockey will once again light-up the Winter Paralympics at Beijing 2022.
Here are some of the key players to look out for.
Declan Farmer (USA, forward)
American hero Declan Farmer scored both the go-ahead goal with 37 seconds left in regulation and the game-winner in overtime against Canada to give the USA their third consecutive Paralympic gold at PyeongChang 2018.
Farmer’s gold medal-winning score also tied him for most goals by one player at a single Paralympics; Sylvester Flis also had 11 goals for the USA at Salt Lake City 2002.
A consistent top scorer at World Championships and an integral part of his team’s attack, Farmer is a double Paralympic and triple world champion with the USA. He has never finished off the podium at a major event.
Ⓒ Getty Images
Jack Wallace (USA, defenseman)
Also a Para canoeist, Jack Wallace made his Paralympic debut for the USA at PyeongChang 2018.
Working his way through the ranks from the development to the national team, the 23-year-old made an instant impact.
On his World Championships debut in 2017, his team left with silver, followed by gold from PyeongChang 2018 and two Worlds golds in 2019 and 2021. He left the most recent edition with seven assists, second only to veteran defender Josh Pauls.
Ⓒ Ostrava 2019 LOC
Tyler McGregor (Canada, forward)
One of Canada’s most legendary players, Tyler McGregor has been part of five World Championships and two Paralympic medal-winning campaigns for Canada since 2012.
At the 2017 Worlds, he scored two goals in 13 seconds in the gold medal final against arch-rivals the USA to help secure a fourth world title.
A further eight goals and two assists made him the team top-scorer in Canada’s silver medal-winning performance in 2021, and second in the tournament overall.
Ⓒ Bill Wippert
Liam Hickey (Canada, defenseman)
Liam Hickey is a dual-sport athlete having also represented Canada in wheelchair basketball at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The 23-year-old impressed at the 2021 World Para Ice Hockey Championships, finishing as the joint-second best defender with 10 points and was named Best Defenseman.
Ⓒ Hockey Canada
Andrei Kasatkin (RPC, goaltender)
As goaltenders go, they do not get much better than Andrei Kasatkin.
With a 91.18 per cent saves average from the 2021 Worlds, topping the rankings, Kasatkin recorded three shutouts in the tournament. With their third place finish, the RPC sealed bronze and qualified for Beijing 2022.
Ⓒ Czech Para Ice Hockey
Seung-Hwan Jung (South Korea, forward)
Nicknamed the ‘Rocket Man’ by some and even ‘Messi on Ice’ by others, South Korea’s Seung-Hwan Jung is widely considered the fastest man on a sledge.
Jung initially retired after his home Paralympics at PyeongChang 2018 to take-up cross-country skiing. However it only took him a few months to realise he really belonged on the ice rather than snow.
The 35-year-old was his team’s leading scorer for a fourth consecutive World Championships when they qualified for Beijing 2022 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in 2021.
Ⓒ Getty Images
Yi Feng Shen (China, forward)
Determined to make a real impact when his team makes their Paralympic debut at home in 2022, Yi Feng Shen has been making all the right moves.
He was part of the Chinese squad that reached promotion with a winning performance from the World Championships C-Pool in 2018.
The following year, Yi was named Best Forward at the B-Pool Worlds and took the honour again in 2021.
Not only that, but Yi’s individual achievements helped his side gain promotion once more as he topped the rankings as Scoring Leader for goals and assists and Goal Scoring Leader.
Ⓒ Karl Nilsson/Parasport Sverige
Michal Geier (Czech Republic, forward)
Triple Paralympian Michal Geier has been at the heart of his team’s attack for more than a decade.
As Team Captain, he was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2019 World Championships at home in Ostrava bagging 11 assists.
Geier was also part of the squad that secured qualification for Beijing 2022 – and his fourth consecutive Paralympics – at the 2021 World Championships.
Ⓒ Getty Images
Andrea Macri (Italy, defenseman)
Injured as a teenager in 2008 when his school’s ceiling collapsed on him, Andrea Macri took-up Para Ice Hockey as part of his rehabilitation.
Since then, the now-30-year-old has competed at two Paralympic Winter Games, and is gearing-up for his third. Macri was also part of the Italian squad that claimed the European title in 2011 and silver in 2016.
Martin Joppa (Slovakia, forward)
A former stand-up ice hockey goaltender before being hit by a drunk driver in 2005, Martin Joppa will lead his national team out at their first Paralympic Games at Beijing 2022.
Joppa’s Para Ice Hockey journey began 10 years ago when he scored Slovakia’s first international goal. Since then, he has been part of their promotion to the A-Pool and was the team’s top scorer at the 2021 World Championships with three goals and one assist.
Despite their relegation from the A-Pool this season, Slovakia still managed to grab a place at the upcoming Winter Paralympics at the qualification tournament. And naturally, Joppa was right there.
Ⓒ Czech Para Ice Hockey