Para ice hockey competitions at PyeongChang 2018 will be held from 10-18 March at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. Here are the top five storylines to follow during the Paralympic Winter Games:
Mark your calendars for when the USA and Canada are set to square off – it might be in the gold medal game. While the USA go for their third straight Paralympic title and hold the record at three Canada’s gold from the 2017 World Championships A-Pool give them a record four titles.
Each World Championships since 2013 featured the USA and Canada. However if they meet in the gold medal game at PyeongChang 2018, it would be the first time in the Paralympic Games.
The new Guy
Team USA will be guided under Guy Gosselin, who has been on the US coaching staff for several years but for the first time as a head coach at a Paralympic Games. He served as an assistant coach to the gold-medal winning team from Sochi 2014 alongside then-head coach Jeff Sauer, who sadly passed away last February. Sauer was head coach since 2011, leading Team USA to two world titles (2012 and 2016) and the Sochi 2014 Paralympic title.
Yes, woman can and DO play
Lena Schroeder posted on her Instagram account a photo of her and her Norwegian hockey jersey, writing: “In March I get to wear both of these awesome outfits! PyeongChang Paralympics, here I come!”
Schroeder has been playing on the Norwegian national team, representing one of the few female Para ice hockey players heading to the Paralympics. She recently participated with them at a tournament in Turin, Italy, in January, the last major international competition before the Games. Watch for a forward wearing No. 29.
Can South Korea medal at home?
The hosts have plenty to be excited about in the South Korean team. Coming off the bronze medal from the 2017 World Championships – their first Worlds medal since silver in 2012 and only their second – South Korea could make history by taking their first Paralympic medal on home ice. And they have looked strong since last April, recently going undefeated at a friendly tournament in January in Nagano, Japan, and shutting out Norway 5-0 for the gold medal.
Best of the rest
But the competition for bronze is tight among South Korea, Norway and Italy. While South Korea defeated Norway for the World bronze, Italy recently defeated Norway in 4-3 overtime fashion at the Turin tournament.
The Paralympic Winter Games take place in PyeongChang, South Korea from 9-18 March. Tickets can be purchased here.