Paralympic Winter Games
7-16 March

Greg Westlake: ‘I’m here to win a hockey tournament’

The Canadian ice sledge hockey captain gives us his brief insight into the Sochi 2014 tournament. 08 Mar 2014
Imagen
Greg Westlake

Canadian ice sledge hockey captain has been identified as one of the top athletes for fans and the media to follow on the road to Sochi 2014.

ⒸAndy Devlin/Hockey Canada
By IPC

“It’s been a long four years building up to this. It’s so exciting. I’m like a kid right now I just want to play. I like seeing the hard work pay off.”

Canadian captain Greg Westlake has been waiting for four years to get back on the Paralympic ice.

When he faces Sweden and Norway in his first two ice sledge hockey preliminary round games at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, the first several minutes will be something he has envisioned doing on a daily basis over the last Paralympic cycle.

“I’m here to win a hockey tournament,” Westlake said. “It’s been a long four years building up to this. It’s so exciting. I’m like a kid right now I just want to play. I like seeing the hard work pay off.”

Canada will face Sweden on Saturday (8 March) at 13:00 (MSK) and Norway on Sunday (9 March) at the same time.

One of the top forwards in the world – in a group that also includes the USA’s Josh Pauls, Russia’s Dmitry Lisov, South Korea’s Seung-Hwan Jung and Italy’s Florian Planker – Westlake makes up half of Canada’s power-scoring duo alongside Brad Bowden. The two spearheaded Canada to a Paralympic gold at the Torino 2006 Games, and more recently a 2013 world title.

But Westlake claimed it is Canada’s efforts on defence that will be the X-factor at Sochi 2014, naming defenceman Adam Dixon and goaltender Corbin Watson in particular.

“If he comes out a plays like he can, he’ll be the story of the tournament,” Westlake said of Watson.

Westlake would not make any predictions for the tournament, but did say he is eager to see how Russia come out and play in front of their home crowd in their Paralympic debut.

“Hopefully Russia come out like they did in the Olympics,” Westlake joked. “I’ve only played them five times in my whole life, but each time I’ve played them they’ve been better, so I’m expecting the best Russian team ever now here in Sochi.”