After three days of matches, the teams in Vancouver for the 2009 Hockey Canada Cup have proven the host city’s strong viability for success at the Paralympic Winter Games next year.
The event, taking place at the UBC Thunderbird Arena in Vancouver, has had two matches each day with four of the top ranked teams competing in the Paralympic Sport, including Canada, Germany, Japan and USA.
The first day saw an incredibly strong showing from Canada, winning 12-1 against Germany. Japan also took the win, 3-1 against USA.
Part of Canada’s success is from the players, which include 15 athletes who helped the team to win gold at the 2008 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships, and 14 athletes from the number one team at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games.
Starting earlier this week on 24 February, the 2009 Hockey Canada Cup will continue through 1 March. The Canada Cup is also a Test Event in Ice Sledge Hockey for the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, with the UBC Thunderbird Arena serving as the venue for the sport.
Ice Sledge Hockey is the Paralympic version of Ice Hockey. Since its debut on the Paralympic Programme at the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Paralympics, it has quickly become one of the largest attractions for spectators at the Winter Paralympics. It is fast-paced, highly physical and played by male athletes with a physical disability in the lower part of the body. Instead of skates, players use two-blade sledges that allow the puck to pass beneath. Players use two sticks, which have a spike-end for pushing and a blade-end for shooting.
The test events for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games will continue next week with the IPC Biathlon & Cross-Country World Cup from 5-8 March and the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals from 9-14 March, both taking place in Whistler.