“This event is one of the most prestigious on the international Para hockey calendar. My teammates and I are looking forward to having London and area hockey fans come out to cheer us on this December.”
The stars of the dramatic Para ice hockey final at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will meet again in Canada for the Para Hockey Cup in London, Ontario, that kicks off on Sunday (2 December).
It will be the first time USA and Canada have met since the Paralympic final which saw the US team equalise with 37 seconds remaining and then snatch gold in overtime.
Bronze medallists South Korea are the other participants of the three-team tournament which runs until 8 December.
“Playing on home ice is always exciting, but to know we’ll be in London, so close to my hometown of Wallacetown, is very special,” said 17-year-old Paralympic silver medallist James Dunn.
“This event is one of the most prestigious on the international Para hockey calendar,” he added. “My teammates and I are looking forward to having London and area hockey fans come out to cheer us on this December.”
The Western Fair Sports Centre will host the traditional event which has been played since 2007. The hosts have lifted the trophy five times but USA have won the last four editions.
The 2017 tournament saw them beat Canada 3-2 in the final and South Korea finish with the bronze medal after beating Italy. Four months later the same countries finished as the top four in PyeongChang.
Twelve of the Paralympics-winning squad return for the Cup including star forward Declan Farmer who scored both goals in the dramatic PyeongChang final.
The USA’s preparations for the tournament included an international training week against Norway in November in Madison.
“Coming off a Paralympic win last season, we were impressed by the level of competition shown at this year's try-outs and we're thrilled about the players chosen to represent the United States this coming season,” said Dan Brennan, general manager of the USA national team.
“Our player pool is deeper than it has ever been, and that's a credit to the volunteers and programs across the country.”
Canada face South Korea in the opening match on Sunday. The next day will see the hosts take on rivals USA. All teams face each other twice with the top two playing the final.
“These athletes are incredibly dedicated to their team and to their sport, and it shows when they get on the ice,” said Scott Smith, President of Hockey Canada.
“This tournament is not only a way to showcase the very best in Para hockey, but a way to let Canadians see how much the sport positively impacts a community,” added Smith.