Canada will face long-time rival Norway in the final, and there's a lot riding on this game. Canada defeated Team USA, the reigning World and Olympic champions, at the IPC World Sledge Championship to capture their first IPC world championship gold medal since 2008. After heartbreak in Vancouver where they dropped their final two games to finish fourth, the Canadians have been on a steady climb towards dominance since their 2010 Olympic shortfall. With the game against Norway set, they'll look to add another gold medal to their haul.
As great as that is, though, the Canadian Sledge Hockey team has basically become a mining company specializing in precious metals. Since 1991, Canada has medalled at almost every tournament the team has played in, and their totals are amazing. Canada has won one gold, one silver, and one bronze at the Paralympic Winter Games, four gold medals and two silver medals at the World Sledge Hockey Championships, three gold medals and three bronze medals at the World Championships, two World Cup Tournament gold medals, a Commemorative Games gold medal, and a Hockey Canada Cup gold medal. Needless to say, twelve gold medals, three silver medals, and four bronze medals over the last 22 years is an impressive haul when playing at the highest level of hockey.
The other team who always seems to be lurking around the podium? Norway. Since 1991, Norway has amassed two gold medals, twelve silver medals, and five bronze medals. Of those totals, they have one Paralympic gold medal, three Paralympic silver medals, and one Paralympic bronze medals. Of those totals, they have three silver medals and three bronze medals at the World Championships. Norway, Canada's opponent tomorrow, will pose a threat as they search for gold as well.
Billy Bridges is leading Team Canada in scoring with two goals and four assists. Greg Westlake and the above-pictured Kevin Rempel have the goal-scoring lead for the Canadians as they have found the back of the net three times apiece. Corbin Watson has been providing some amazing netminding for the Canadian squad as he's played in three games thus far with a 1.03 GAA and a .900 save percentage. Statistically, Canada looks good going into the final, so here's hoping they can knock off their rivals once more and send Norway back to Scandinavia with yet another silver medal!
I'll be cheering from afar tomorrow as the men take the ice against Norway, so here's hoping they can add another medal to their resumés. The best part? Watch it live right here at 16:00 local Russian time! That's 8am ET if you're looking for some early-morning hockey action, kids. I'll probably pull myself out of slumber to catch the game, so GO CANADA GO!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!