Declan Farmer and Team USA among first PARA SPORT Awards winners

Team and player awarded for Beijing 2022 success at ceremony to celebrate those who contributed to strengthening the impact of Para sports worldwide 28 Sep 2023
Three USA Para ice hockey players celebrating a goal
Declan Farmer (number 16) helped lead Team USA to a fourth consecutive Paralympic gold medal at the Beijing 2022 Games
ⒸOIS/Simon Bruty
By PARA SPORT and World Para Ice Hockey

The accolades keep coming for USA's Para ice hockey team following its gold-medal victories at both the Beijing 2022 Paralympics and 2023 World Para Ice Hockey Championships A-Pool. 

Forward Declan Farmer was awarded Best Male Winter athlete and the USA was named Best Team at the first-ever PARA SPORT Awards at a ceremony in Bahrain on Wednesday (27 September).

The PARA SPORT Awards celebrate those whose efforts have contributed to strengthening the impact of Para sports worldwide. In addition to awards for summer and winter sport athletes, there were categories for coaches, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) members, and volunteers. The timeframe considered to be eligible for winning an award was from 1 January 2022 to 30 April 2023.

The award ceremony was held alongside the IPC’s General Assembly and Conference, which is taking place between 27 and 29 September in Manama, Bahrain.

In 2022, Team USA was nearly invincible at the Beijing Games, winning a fourth consecutive and fifth overall Paralympic title. The USA won all four of its games at the National Indoor Stadium, outscoring opponents 30-1, including a 5-0 victory over Canada in the gold-medal contest. Its five goals in the final were the most by a team ever in a gold-medal game. The dynamic duo of Farmer, 24, and Brody Roybal, 23, each recorded two goals and an assist in the final, finishing the tournament with a combined 30 points.

“We’ve worked hard to maintain our spot as the top team in the world, but any champion knows they couldn’t do it alone,” said USA’s captain Josh Pauls in a recorded message presented during the ceremony. “We’ve had the support of our friends and family, and most importantly the support of our governing body, USA Hockey. They give us all the tools we kneed to be successful and we hope to see the same level of support across the sport and across the world.”

Farmer was Team USA’s leading scorer in Beijing, where he finished with a tournament-leading 18 points. During the event, he became the all-time US leader for Paralympic points and assists. He already held the mark for most goals. In Moosejaw, he had nine goals and five assists. 

“Thank you to the IPC for awarding me the Best Male Winter Athlete of the Year,” Farmer said. Although it is an individual award, there are no individual awards in hockey. Everyone on our team played an equally important yet unique role in our success this year, and I’m just the one lucky enough to have my name written on the award.” 

Additionally, World Para Ice Hockey Manager Michelle Laflamme was in Bahrain to accept the International Women’s Day Award on behalf of the federation. The award’s International Federation (IF) category recognises the leadership, impact and effective change initiated by IFs who promote and support equality and inclusion of women in sport.

World Para Ice Hockey received the award after having a landmark year in the development of the sport among female athletes, coaches, and officials, which resulted in the first-ever Women’s World Challenge in 2022.

More information about the 2022 PARA SPORT Awards can be found here.