Corbin Watson is expected to be Canada’s starting goaltender later this month at the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool, which take place in Buffalo, New York, USA from 26 April- 3 May.
Watson, whose lower right leg was amputated after a car accident in 2006, has been a member of the Canadian national sledge hockey team since 2009. He backstopped the team to gold at the 2013 World Championships, and he maintained a 0.75 goals against average at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics to help Canada clinch bronze.
Heading into Buffalo 2015, Watson shared with Paralympic.org three goaltenders he likes to model his game after.
Arguably the best goaltender and possibly player in the NHL this season, the Montreal Canadiens’ backstop leads the league in all four major statistical categories – goals against average, save percentage, wins and shutouts. The Vancouver-born Price also helped Canada win gold at the Sochi 2014 Olympics, where he was named the tournament’s top goaltender by the IIHF. Watson says of Price: “He has been able to grow a lot as a strong goalie over the years. I use this as inspiration to keep growing myself, so that I am able to give my team the best chance possible, even when things aren’t looking the best.”
Highly regarded as one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time, Brodeur has nearly every accolade in the book. He won three Stanley Cup titles with the New Jersey Devils, is a four-time Vezina Trophy winner and won two Olympic golds with Canada. Watson had the privilege of meeting Brodeur during the 2009-10 season at a gala dinner, and Brodeur went on and on to him about how tough he thought it would be to be a goaltender in sledge hockey. Watsons says: “He will always be a favourite of mine because he was the one to inspire me to become a goalie in the first place. It was always good to see how cool and collected he was in the net. He made everything seem so easy.”
As the only non-Canadian on this list, the Finnish goaltender is the franchise record-holder for the NHL’s Calgary Flames, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2004. He also led Finland to a bronze medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and Watson looked up to him because he always tried to keep the puck out of the net at all costs. Watson said: “Even when players thought he was down and out, he would still be able to pull out some sort of insane save.”
The 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool will feature Canada in Group A alongside Czech Republic, Norway and Japan. Group B includes Paralympic champions the USA, Russia, Italy and Germany.
Tickets are available at Buffalo2015.com.