Quesnel sledge hockey player James Gemmell is heading to the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games. Melanie Law photo

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

Canada’s para hockey team collected silver medals after dropping a 2-1 overtime loss to the United States Saturday afternoon during the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games in Gangneung, South Korea.

The men, who proudly wore the Maple Leaf uniforms, got on the scoreboard first on a goal by veteran Billy Bridges (Summerside, PEI) at 12:06 of the first period.

Canada held on to the lead until the Americans knotted the score in the dying seconds of the third stanza to take the game into overtime.

Goalie Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) was strong between the pipes as faced 16 shots – four more than the American net-minder.

The U.S. grabbed the gold as Declan Farmer’s shot found the back of the net at 3:30 of the overtime period.

“Our guys were tremendous. They battled hard,” said Team Canada head coach Ken Babey.

“They took Canada’s para hockey program to a silver medal.

“I’m very proud of our team, and I’m very lucky to be part of such a great group of young men and such a great organization [Hockey Canada].”

Babey’s disappointment over the loss wasn’t overshadowed by the prospects he sees for the program leading into 2022.

“The veteran players showed a lot of experience, and they bought into the system and the style of play. We’ve taken the style of play to a whole new level, and Canada should be proud of that – our team is proud of that.”

We have a lot of young players coming up, and through this experience, we’ll be better. “Our fortunes are looking pretty good for the next quadrennial.”

Canada dominated its opponents during the preliminary round and semifinal play where they outscored Sweden, Italy, Norway, and Korea 42-0 while allowing only 13 shots on goal.

Canada ends the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games with a 4-1 record.

This whole build has been fantastic, said team captain Greg Westlake (Toronto), one of three players who won gold in 2006, and bronze in 2014

“It’s not the result we wanted tonight, but I think it’s important to take a step back and realize that in high-performance sport, the difference can be inches, millimetres, a millisecond and that can determine the outcome, and that can determine and shape your experience of a [Paralympic] Games.”

While silver isn’t the colour of medal the team had hoped for, Westlake said a Paralympic Games medal of any colour is special and holds a lot of power.

“I’ve been fortunate to go to a lot of galas, a lot of golf tournaments, a lot of hospitals, and people don’t care that it’s gold, silver or bronze.

“They care that you stuck to something, persevered, and you were able to accomplish something not many people do in their life.

I think over time we’ll take this silver medal back home and hopefully inspire a whole new generation of Paralympians, Olympians, [or] just high-performing people who say ‘hey, bad things are coming, but we’re going to work hard and we’re going to come out the other side [and be] OK’.”

Canada’s lone para hockey gold medal came in Turin in 2006 where three members of this year’s team – Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.), Bridges, and Westlake – finished atop the podium.

(James Gemmell, the sole para hockey team member from B.C., has said this was the event that inspired him to get involved in sledge hockey.)

Canada has also won Paralympic silver in Nagano, Japan (1998), as well as a pair of bronze medals in Lillehammer, Norway (1994), and Sochi, Russia (2014).

The addition of Canada’s silver medal adds to the record medal (28) haul for the Canadian contingent at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, surpassing the 2010 record of 19 medals in Vancouver.

Canada’s para hockey team is set to return home on on March 20, with Gemmell arriving in Vancouver on AC64 at 11:40 a.m.

Just Posted

Model trains, historical exhibits offered at Parksville museum’s Railway Days

The family-friendly event takes place on Aug. 17 and 18 and is by donation

Coombs, Errington area director won’t run again

Julian Fell endorses Leanne Salter for role

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Nanoose farm hopes to be more agriculturally transparent

Goal is to have new barn open to the public by spring of 2019

Teens premier Beauty and Beast Jr. Aug. 16 in Qualicum Beach

Outgoing and up-and-coming actors detail benefits of teen program

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

2 girls, hand-drawn map in hand, sneak out of B.C. home for adventure

The pair’s escape has transit police reminding commuters to report unusual behaviour

Most Read