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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Greg Westlake

Para Ice Hockey
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Having his legs amputated when he was 18 months old, Canadian team captain Greg Westlake started playing Para ice hockey in 2001 for the Mississauga Cruisers before being named to the national team in 2003 at the age of 17.

Now Westlake has certainly earned enough accolades to date to be classified as one of the best Para ice hockey players in the world.

The product out of Oakville, Ontario helped Canada capture a gold medal at the International Ice Sledge Hockey “4 Nations” Tournament in Sochi, Russia, in 2013 defeating Norway, 4-0.

Earlier in 2013, Westlake and Canada defeated the USA to win the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship A-Pool in Goyang, South Korea. At tournament’s end, he was named the most outstanding forward.

But that was not his first gold medal at a World Championships.

Back in 2008 at the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool in Marlborough, USA, a Westlake goal with 9.3 seconds remaining in the third period broke a 2-2 tie against Norway and helped Canada come out on top.

As captain of his team since 2011 and an avid golfer, Westlake provides an excellent leadership presence both on and off the ice.

In 2006, Westlake and Canada captured a gold medal at Torino 2006, defeating Norway 3-0. With Canada missing out on the medal rounds at Vancouver 2010, on their home ice, Westlake helped them to bring home a bronze medal from Sochi 2014, silver at the 2015 World Championships and the hallowed world title in 2017.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital

Further personal information

Residence
Toronto, ON, CAN
Occupation
Athlete, Business Owner, Media Professional
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He learned to skate at age three. He began playing Para ice hockey in 2001 with the Mississauga Cruisers in Ontario, Canada.
Why this sport?
"I grew up playing hockey. I learned how to skate when I was three years old on two artificial legs and I just love the game. I've played road hockey, ball hockey, mini-sticks in my basement. [I was] the youngest of four kids, so I was just trying to keep up and do whatever they were doing. It wasn't until I was about 15, 16 years old that I got involved in sledge hockey and fell in love with it."
Name of coach
Ken Babey [national], CAN
Preferred position / style / stance / technique
Forward

International debut

Year
2003
Competing for
Canada

General interest

Nicknames
Hollywood (gracebrulotte.blogspot.com, 07 Mar 2010)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Turin, and playing in front of a home crowd at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. (Athlete, 06 Mar 2014)
Most influential person in career
His family, and Canadian Para ice hockey player Paul Rosen. (Athlete, 06 Mar 2014)
Hero / Idol
Canadian ice hockey player Mike Richards. (paralympic.org, 17 Jan 2013)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Don't worry about things you can't control." (rbc.ca, 2011)
Awards and honours
He was named Best Forward at the 2013 World Championships A-Pool in Goyang, Republic of Korea. (paralympic.org, 02 May 2013)
Other sports
In 2011 he set an arm-powered world speed record in handcycling. (paralympic.ca, 01 Mar 2014)
Impairment
Both of his legs were amputated below the knee at age 18 months. "When I was born my feet were malformed and were never going to be fully functional." (discoverhumboldt.com, 14 May 2012; claytontheriault.blogspot.co.uk, 18 Apr 2012)
Other information
LIFE AFTER HOCKEY
Speaking in mid-2018 he said the thought of retirement had crossed his mind, but that he wanted to continue playing at future Paralympic Games. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about whether I'll be back with Team Canada. I would like to play at two more Games [in 2022 and 2026] but I'm also in my early thirties, I'm thinking about life, I'm thinking about a house, a professional career." He also said he was still reflecting on Canada's defeat to the United States of America in the gold medal game of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. "I'm very much an athlete. I'm still not over that last loss." (games.paralympic.ca, 26 Jun 2018)

LONGTIME LEADER
He was first named captain of Canada's national Para ice hockey team in October 2010. (games.paralympic.ca, 2018; globalnews.ca, 13 Nov 2017; cbc.ca, 01 Oct 2016)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
He is the owner of Taylor and Colt, a chain of barber shops in Toronto, ON, Canada. He is a spokesperson for Jumpstart's Play Finds A Way Project, a programme to make sport and play accessible to all Canadian children. "It's kids with disabilities playing with able-bodied kids. It's everyone together, which is the way it should be and I just think it's an incredible programme." (globalnews.ca, 13 Nov 2017; LinkedIn profile, 2018)

EARLY DAYS
In 2005 he changed his position on the ice from goaltender to forward, which he admits led to some opposition and resentment from other members of the national team. "I think when I made the transition to go from being a goalie to a forward there was definitely some guys who could see themselves losing their job. I got a few phone calls from a few of the older guys on the team basically saying, 'This is a bad decision for you, don't do it'. But it was always in the pipeline for me, I always wanted to hit people, I wanted to score goals, I wanted to be more active." (The National Benefit Authority, 22 Feb 2017)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games (Torino, Italy)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Tournament Group A 1
Men's Tournament Gold Medal Match 101
Men's Tournament Semifinal 202
Men's Tournament Group A 5
Men's Tournament Group A 4
Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (Vancouver, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed Bronze Medal Match 102
Mixed Semifinal 201
Mixed Group B 5
Mixed Group B 4
Mixed Group B 1
Paralympic Winter Games 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed Group A 2014-03-08 2
Mixed Group A 2014-03-09 4
Mixed Group A 2014-03-11 6
Mixed Group A - Standings 2014-03-11 1
Mixed Semifinal 2014-03-13 202
Mixed Bronze Medal Match 2014-03-15 102
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed Tournament Group A 2018-03-10 2
Mixed Tournament Group A 2018-03-11 3
Mixed Tournament Group A 2018-03-12 4
Mixed Tournament Group A - Standings 2018-03-13 1
Mixed Tournament Semifinal 2018-03-15 1
Mixed Tournament Gold Medal Match 2018-03-18 1