Top 50 Moments of 2017: No. 19 - Para ice hockey’s clash of the titans

Canada dominate arch rivals USA to win World Championships 13 Dec 2017
By IPC

Arguably the fiercest rivalry in Para sport took centre stage in Gangneung, South Korea, in April 2017.

For those who missed it then, expect to watch it again on the biggest stage in March 2018 at the Paralympic Winter Games.

In their 10th meeting at a World Para Ice Hockey Championships tournament, North American foes Canada and the USA battled for the gold medal, and their classic matchup is No. 18 on the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Top 50 Moments of 2017.

In what was expected to be a tight battle like previous matches – including a 2-1 victory for the USA in the 2017 Worlds preliminary rounds – it was instead a dominant 4-1 victory for Canada.

It was sweet revenge for the Canadians, who had lost out to their rivals in the final of the previous Worlds.

“It’s hard to put into words right now. I’m so proud of every guy on the team, and it’s getting kind of emotional right now,” Canada’s Tyler McGregor said after that game.

“It’s been a long four years. Our last World Championships was here in Korea, so obviously we’re doing something right here. I think we came out today on a mission. We knew what we wanted to do, and we executed that. This is one of the closest teams I’ve ever played on, and this is one of the best days of my life for sure.”

Between them the two teams have won seven of the nine world titles in the sport’s history. Canada now hold a record four titles, winning in 2000, 2008, 2013 and 2017. The USA own titles from 2009, 2012 and 2015.

This year’s final was the third consecutive time they had faced off for the gold.

McGregor, 23, had an emphatic tournament, finished tied for the lead with 12 goals, including back-to-back goals in a matter of 17 seconds in the gold medal match to round off Canada’s victory.

The Championships also saw the dynamic duo of US young forwards Brody Roybal and Declan Farmer showcase their talents on the ice, something Canada will have to defend against at PyeongChang 2018.

“Any loss is tough to swallow, especially one in a gold medal game,” Farmer said. “We’d won six straight tournaments, so losing is a rare feeling for us. But as athletes, it’s important to have a short memory, after victory or defeat. We have moved on.”

The countdown of the IPC’s Top 50 Moments continues until 31 December.