The United States enters the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as two-time defending Paralympic gold medalists. After going undefeated and unscored upon to claim the gold medal at the Paralympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010, Team USA became the first nation to claim back-to-back Paralympic gold medals in sled hockey when it defeated Russia, 1-0, in the gold-medal game of the Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. Over the last two Paralympic Winter Games, the U.S. has outscored opponents, 32-2 and registered eight shutouts en route to claiming nine of its 10 games.
This past season, Team USA earned a silver medal at the 2017 Para Sled Hockey World Championship in Gangneung, South Korea, following a run of six-straight major international titles that included the 2016 (December) World Sled Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, P.E.I.; the 2016 IPC Sled Hockey Pan-Pacific Championship in Buffalo, New York; the 2016 (January) World Sled Hockey Challenge in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia; the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship in Buffalo, New York; the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Leduc, Alberta; and the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) has backstopped the U.S. to three Paralympic medals—two gold and one silver—since he joined the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in 2005. At the age of 15, Cash competed at his first Paralympic Winter Games at Torino 2006 where Team USA won bronze. By 2007, Cash was carrying the load in net and hasn't looked back since. He has only allowed two goals in 10 games of Paralympic play and statistically, holds nearly every U.S. goaltending record to date. In six world championships, he's helped lead the U.S. to three golds, two silvers and one bronze. After winning gold in Sochi, Cash, whose right leg was amputated due to osteosarcoma at age three, was chosen as the flag bearer for Team USA at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. As the veteran on the team, the 28-year-old is primed to steer the U.S. on another medal run in 2018.
Though he's just 19 years old, Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) has the resume of a seasoned veteran on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. A gold medalist at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship, Farmer sits either atop or in the top three of nearly every U.S. skater statistic, including goals, assists, and points in both single-season and career records. In 2017, Farmer was named Best Forward of the World Para Sled Hockey Championships after setting U.S. records with 12 goals and 18 points to help Team USA earn the silver medal. He was the second-youngest member of the U.S. team that won gold in Sochi and has been one of the program's best players and most prolific scorers. Born a bilateral amputee, Farmer first tried sled hockey at a clinic in in Clearwater, Florida in 2006. Twelve years later, he is poised to be the breakout star of PyeongChang 2018 with hopes of leading Team USA to an unprecedented third-consecutive Paralympic title.
Growing up in New Jersey, Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) had hopes of becoming the first NHL goalie with no legs. He was born without tibia bones and had both legs amputated at 10 months old. After a few years and some convincing from his parents, he joined a local team, the New York Rangers Junior Sled Hockey club team in 2002. Moving through the ranks quickly and showing promise, he was invited to a USA Hockey Development Camp in 2007. In 2010, at age 17, he was the youngest member of the gold medal-winning squad at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. He went on to make his second U.S. Paralympic Team, winning gold in Sochi. Now 24 years old, Pauls is considered a veteran and key piece to the team's international success, helping the team to four world championship medals in his career. He was named Best Defenseman at the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championships and 2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championship and holds the Team USA record for most career goals (18) in World Sled Hockey Challenge history.