Paralympic Preview: Sled Hockey

The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games kicked off on Friday — and if you follow Magee on Twitter, you know we were SUPER excited for the opening ceremonies! Now that the games are in full swing, we cannot wait to see how Team USA fairs… we sense a lot of gold in our future!

Over the past few weeks, we have detailed several paralympic sports to get you ready for the games. The final sport we will detail is one you may remember from a previous post: sled hockey or sledge hockey as it’s called in other countries. In that post, I wrote about sled hockey, its rules, and how the game is played — check it out if you need a refresher. Today, I’m going to introduce you to Team USA’s sled hockey team.

But first, a little piece of trivia. There has never been a team that has won consecutive gold medals at the Paralympic Winter Games in sled hockey. Team USA won the gold medal in Vancouver in 2010, and has a chance to be the first country to win consecutive titles. Team USA already has won back to back International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships, the first country to ever do so, and they hope to do the same in Sochi. And even though Team Canada comes in ranked number one in the world, in January, Team USA took two out of three games against our neighbors to the north in Indian Trail N.C.

Team USA has players from ages 35 to as young as 15! Brody Roybal, the youngest member of Team USA, is 15, while Andy Yohe is entering his third game, is 35 with two children! Declan Farmer is second youngest at 16. Team USA’s goalie Steve Cash, is considered by many to be the world’s best sled hockey goalie. He made 895 saves over 86 games since his first game in 2007 through last season. At the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver, Steve’s second games as a player, he didn’t allow a goal in five games, stopping all 33 shots and even stopped a penalty shot in the gold medal game.  This will be his third Paralympic games and he hopes to bring another gold medal back from Sochi.

Another returning player from Vancouver is Josh Pauls, who played defense in 2010, but switched to offense last year and became Team USA’s leading scorer with nine goals and 11 assists in 16 games. He hopes to lead USA to another gold medal at his new position.

There are three military veterans and one active duty soldier on the roster for Team USA who are set to make their debuts in Sochi. Army Staff Sergeant Yung “Jen”  Lee, goalkeeper, Army Veteran Rico Roman, defenseman; Marine Corps veteran Paul Schaus, forward, and Marine Corps veteran Josh Sweeney, forward (pictured below), all expect to play in Sochi for their first Paralympic games.

Team USA has already played two preliminary game against Italy and South Korea, winning each handily.  Tomorrow, they play Russia, and it’s sure to be an exciting game! We’ll keep you posted on the results. In the meantime, check out the video below to meet some of the members of Team USA!

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