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2022 Paralympics Notebook | 'Twas the Night Before Game Day

By USA Hockey, 03/10/22, 11:45AM EST

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Follow along Team USA's pursuit of an unprecedented fourth-straight Paralympic gold

The 2022 Beijing Paralympic Winter Games will take place in Beijing, China from March 4-14, 2022. The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will enter the tournament after winning an unprecedented third-straight Paralympic gold medal, most recently by defeating Canada, 2-1, in overtime in 2018 in PyeongChang. 

2022 U.S. Paralympic Team

Schedule & Results

Paralympic Roster



March 11: USA 11, CHINA 0

Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.) scored four goals, which included a first-period hat trick, and Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) tallied six points and became the U.S. all-time assists leader at the Paralympics as the 2022 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team defeated China, 11-0, in the semifinal round of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

“I thought we were really relentless the whole game,” said David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.), head coach of the 2022 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. “We kept things really consistent and we made them play at the tempo that we wanted to play and I think we wore them out. Most importantly, I think everyone, staff included, were just excited to play a game again and I think that excitement showed on the ice.”

Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) stopped six shots for his third shutout of the tournament. Lee has not allowed a goal through 120:00 minutes played. 


March 10 | 'Twas the Night Before Game Day

'Twas the night before game day when all through Beijing...

Team USA took to the ice for one final tune-up before its semifinal matchup against host China on Friday, March 11.

On Wednesday evening, the team gathered in the lounge to watch the quarterfinal matchup between the Czech Republic and China to see who they would ultimately face in the semifinals. It was an exciting, hard-fought game for both teams, but host China came out on top in the end. 

After having the morning off on Thursday, the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team caught a mid-afternoon bus to the arena for a brief skate that evening.

The coaching staff kept practice shorter than normal as the team was on its third-consecutive day of practices heading into Friday's game, but don't worry, the energy was just as high as usual. 

Upon returning to the village, the team convened for dinner before heading to bed to get a good night of rest before taking on an undefeated China on Friday.

Puck drop for Team USA's semifinal against China is set for 8:05 p.m. local time, 7:05 a.m. ET on Friday, March 11 and the game will be televised live on USA Network. 

The U.S. earned an automatic bye to the semifinals after going undefeated 2-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in the preliminary round with wins over Canada and South Korea. Team USA only faced two opponents in the preliminary round after RPC athletes were denied participation by the IPC, as announced on March 3, 2021.

Team USA is 3-1 all-time in Paralympic semifinal matchups, most recently defeating Italy, 10-1, in the semifinals of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.


March 9 | The Team Behind the Team

While the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team continues its training in preparation for the semifinals on Friday, we wanted to take the time to recognize those who spend all of their time and efforts supporting Team USA during their time in Beijing. 

From our coaching staff to our medical staff, equipment manager and security, it truly takes a village to provide support to our athletes.

One person in particular that contributes so much, but sometimes flies under the radar, is our team host. At major international events, each team is assigned a team host, who is there to assist that team with anything they may need throughout the tournament. 

Our team host, Kun Wang a.k.a "Rick" (his chosen American name) a.k.a "Ricky Bobby" (his team nickname), has been doing everything to assist Team USA this Paralympic Winter Games. Wang is a 25-year-old student at Capital University of Physical Education and Sports in Beijing, studying physical education. 

Rick greets the team as they arrive for every practice and game and is always the last high-five before getting on the bus when the team leaves the rink. He does virtually anything he can to assist players and staff on daily basis and folks could not be more appreciative. 

After practice on Wednesday, the team presented Kun Wang with a personalized Team USA jersey for all he has done to help the team here in Beijing. 

Click here, to learn more about our amazing support staff.


Our team host Kun Wang, a.k.a "Rick" (his chosen American name), a.k.a "Ricky Bobby" (his team nickname) with his Team USA jersey.


March 8 | Back to Business

Following the team's day off on Monday, it was back to work for the 2022 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team on Tuesday. However, it was a little bittersweet heading to the rink for a practice rather than a game.

The U.S. was originally supposed to face the Russian Paralympic Committee on Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. local time before the International Paralympic Committee denied Russian athlete participation on March 3, 2022. 

Instead of a late game, the U.S. caught an early bus for morning practice to begin preparing for Friday's semifinal matchup. After just one day of not being at the rink, it was all smiles and excitement to get back out on the ice. 

The team practiced for just over an hour, but, as always, it wasn't all work and no play. One thing this group of players and staff pride themselves on is creating a competitive environment that is also fun, which makes training together enjoyable. 

At the end of practice, the team was still in the curling spirit after attending Team USA's wheelchair curling match against Canada yesterday and decided to try a round or two of "human curling." Split into two teams, blue and white, players gathered in front of one of the nets in between the two face-off circles. Taking turns, each player would get one push to propel themselves toward center ice with the goal of getting as close to the center dot as possible. 

Just like in curling, some players would aim to stop short of the circle to act as a guard for their teammates who were closer to the center. Others would push too hard and overshoot the circle. Most importantly, there were lots of laughs and cheers from everyone in the rink, including bystanders, as players tried again and again to "curl" their sled to center ice. 

Team USA's version of "human curling" even included some sweeping from goaltender Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.).



March 7 | R-O-C-K in the USA!

After back-to-back days of games on Saturday and Sunday, the 2022 Paralympic Sled Hockey Team had the day off on Monday to rest and recuperate from the busy weekend. 

Coming off of back-to-back wins, Team USA was feeling the Paralympic spirit heading into their day off. After breakfast, some of the team boarded a bus to the Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as "the cube" or the "the water cube," which is where the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Curling Team is competing. 

A big part of being at the Paralympics is going to cheer on other Team USA athletes and teams who are competing during down time. Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions, there aren't as many opportunities for athletes to do so this year, but the team's who can go and support each other make an effort to do so.

The majority of the team went to watch the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Curling Team take on Canada this morning in the team's fourth game of the tournament. The guys wanted to have some fun and turn some heads at the Curling venue so many of those who attended wore matching outfits consisting of a red and blue checkered vest and fuzzy hats. Many of them rocked bare arms under the vests, which was a crowd favorite. 

The result may not have gone in favor of the U.S. curlers, but the players had a blast cheering on their fellow members of Team USA.


March 6: USA 9, KOR 1

Jack Wallace (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) completed a hat trick in the first period and Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) tallied five points as the 2022 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team defeated South Korea, 9-1, here today in the preliminary round finale of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

“I love how tenacious this team is,” said David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.), head coach of the 2022 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. “The first few minutes may not have been as dominant as we expected, but this team just won’t let off. They always stick with it until things start clicking on our end and we definitely saw that today. We know the upcoming schedule looks different than it normally would, but we’re going to stay engaged as a team this week and prepare for our next game.”

Another milestone for Team USA was achieved on the opening draw as Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.), captain for Team USA, suited up for his 17th Paralympic Winter Game to put himself atop the U.S. record book for most games played at the Winter Games.

With its win against Korea, the U.S. finished atop Group A to earn a bye into the semifinal round in the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. The team will play on Friday, March 11, at either 12:05 p.m. or 8:05 p.m. local time.


March 5: USA 5, CAN 0

In the team's 2022 Paralympic debut, Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) tallied one goal and three assists to become Team USA’s all-time point leader at the Paralympic Winter Games and Jen Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) recorded a shutout as the 2022 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team defeated Canada, 5-0.

Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.), Brody Roybal (Northlake, Ill.), Malik Jones (Aurora, Colo.) and Josh Misiewicz (La Grange, Ill.) also scored for Team USA in its victory against Canada. Jones' second period goal marked his first career Paralympic goal with Team USA. 

“I thought we got off to a really good start,” said David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.), head coach of the 2022 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. “We might not have played our best today but I thought we were really consistent and we were able to continue to keep that momentum throughout the game and that’s how we were able to come out on top. It was great to get that first win on the Paralympic stage after traveling a long way to China. It’s really nice to start off that way.”

Farmer was tabbed Player of the Game for his four-point performance against rival Canada. 


March 4 | Let the Games Begin

Happy Friday from Beijing!

Today was Team USA’s final day of practice before games are underway at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

Instead of the usual afternoon skate, the team headed to the rink earlier in the morning to practice to ensure enough time to get ready for the Opening Ceremony Friday evening.

Friday afternoon the athletes got all dressed up in there Opening Ceremony outfits and took pictures in the Paralympic Village before heading over the venue, the Bird’s Nest.

Once inside, the excitement began to build as the ceremony began.

When athletes stepped out into the arena, led by Team USA flag bearers and the United States flag, every Paralympian walked out to see the giant LED floor and the oblong roof that sparkled with lights.

Team USA walked with their fellow U.S. Paralympians under the bright lights of the stadium to officially kick off the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

Team USA opens preliminary round play against Canada Saturday, March 5 at 1:05 p.m. local time, 12:05 a.m. ET. The game will be televised live on USA Network.


March 3 | Say Cheese!

It was all smiles at the Beijing National Indoor Stadium today as the players received their 2022 Paralympic jerseys for the first time since arriving in Beijing.

If you ask any players on the team, past or present, what it’s like putting on their Team USA jersey you are almost guaranteed to get a very similar answer. They will always say what an honor it is to wear the USA crest across your chest and it’s an unforgettable experience putting the jersey on the first time and every time that follows.

Dan Brennan, the general manager of the team, established a jersey ceremony tradition where each player will share someone who has inspired them in their journey as a person, an athlete and now as a Paralympian. Someone who inspires them both on and off the ice.

During the jersey ceremony, each player will share their inspirations and then they receive the jersey in which they have all worked so hard for.

Following the jersey ceremony, players and staff took to the ice for the Paralympic team photo. Players wore their Navy jerseys for the team photo and then changed back into practice jerseys to get another hard skate in for the day. After returning to the village, folks congregated for dinner. Once the team pictures came out, it was straight to social media to show off the jerseys. Gotta look good for the gram!


March 2 | We Talkin 'Bout Practice???

After three jam-packed days of practices and getting settled in Beijing, the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team had the day off from practice. The team still ventured over to the rink for a brief team-building activity to get out of the Paralympic Village for a little.

Since the team had the day off from practice, we thought we’d let you in on a practice tradition that was established during Team USA’s Paralympic Residency in Nashville, Tenn. earlier this year.

Before each Paralympic Games, the team gathers for what is usually a month-long residency where the athletes live and train together leading up to the Paralympics. This year’s residency was held in Nashville as many of our athletes reside there full time.

During residency, the players not only push themselves to get better but they challenge each other to reach their full potential as athletes and teammates in hopes of reaching their mutual goal of Paralympic gold.


A close-up shot of the hard hat that is awarded to a member of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team at the end of each practice.

Shortly after this year’s residency began, forward and three-time Paralympian Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) came up with the idea to award the “Grinder of the Day” accolade after every practice, which was given to a player who exhibited formidable efforts during practice. It’s not always about scoring goals or showcasing great skill (although we do love that as well!), it’s sometimes about whose attitude may have influenced positive energy during practice. Someone who encouraged their teammates to continue to get better or helped lift someone up who maybe was having an off day.

Griffin LaMarre (Haverhill, Mass.), who is making his Paralympic debut in Beijing, came up with the idea to award the “Grinder of the Day” a hard hat. He said his club team, the Northeast Passage Wildcats, had done something similar a few years ago. At the end of every practice, players and coaches huddle up for the announcement, and everyone cheers and stick taps for the recipient of the hard hat.

Captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) said the hard hat symbolizes someone that might not always do the stuff that gets your name in the paper during practice, but had a great practice and was doing all the little things right.


March 1 | *Four* Score and Three Paralympics Ago

Another action-packed day of practice and village life for Team USA in Beijing. The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team roster features 11 players who have competed in at least one Paralympic Games and six who will make their Paralympic debut here in China.

Among the Paralympic returners, three-time Paralympic gold medalist Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) will serve as the captain of Team USA for a second-consecutive Paralympic Games after he helped lead the U.S. to an unprecedented third-straight gold medal at the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Pauls is making his fourth appearance at the Paralympics in Beijing in pursuit of a fourth-consecutive gold medal.

Wanna feel old? Take a trip down memory lane with us for some other major moments of the years that the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team brought home gold medals.

Josh Pauls competed in the Paralympics in the same year that…

2010:

  • TikTok by Ke$ha was the top song of the year
  • The first iPad was released
  • Harry Potter movies were still being released

2014:

  • Happy by Pharrell Williams was the No. 1 song of the year
  • The ALS ice bucket challenge went viral the summer after Team USA won gold
  • How I Met Your Mother series finale

2018:

  • The Royal Wedding took place
  • Avengers Infinity War and Black Panther were both releases that same year
  • “Yodel Kid” Mason Ramsey hit the scene after yodeling in a local Illinois Walmart

Needless to say a lot has happened over the last 12 years, but Josh Pauls winning Paralympic gold medals has been a constant for Team USA sled hockey.


Feb. 28 | Pin There, Done That

Team USA’s second day in Beijing was highlighted by Paralympic tradition of trading pins amongst all participants. Athletes, staff and volunteers all barter and trade lapel pins trying to collect the most unique and vast collection to commemorate their experience at the 2022 Paralympic Games.

Players spent the morning hustling around the Paralympic Village in hot pursuit of exchanging their pins. As you wander around the village, you see athletes adorning their pins on lanyards around their necks and on their bags and backpacks.   

“That’s my favorite part,” said three-time Paralympian Rico Roman (Portland, Ore.). “It’s getting to meet and interact with folks from all over the world.”

After lunch, players and staff hopped on the bus and headed to the arena for practice. On the bus, players were comparing the pins they had received as well as discussed ones they were hoping to find. Some people try to collect the most ornate or unique-looking pins, while others try and collect ones from all different countries.

They say that trading pins really ramps up as the games begin, but the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team decided to get an early start on the action. The U.S. opens the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games against Canada on Saturday, March 5 at 1:05 p.m. local time, 12:05 a.m. ET. 


Feb. 27 | Team Arrives in Beijing

The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team began its journey to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games on Friday, Feb. 25. Following an epic send off for Team USA, the team boarded its charter flight in Los Angeles on Friday morning. Between the 14-hour flight and 16-hour time change, Team USA landed in Beijing late Saturday night.

Goaltender Jen Lee (San Francisco, Colif.), a native of Taiwan, helped translate with all the amazing volunteers here in Beijing, which was much appreciated by his teammates. Approaching midnight local time, the team made its way to the Paralympic village where the athletes were finally able to get some much-needed rest after a long day of travel.

Smiles and the weather were equally as warm and bright on Day 1 in Beijing. Players and staff were able to get outside and explore the Paralympic Village in the morning before getting on a bus and heading to the rink for Team USA's first practice.

Players made sure to go out early and take lots of pictures and videos of their first sights of the Beijing Paralympic arena. The U.S. was one of two teams to practice on the competition sheet. One unique element of this adaptive arena is that there is real ice on the benches and in the penalty boxes, rather than synthetic ice, which is used in most adaptive facilities. 

Players took to the ice for an hour-long practice. Defenseman Joey Woodke (Nashville, Tenn.), who is making his Paralympic debut in Beijing, was one of the first players out on the ice. "It's starting to feel real now," Woodke said skating by under the bright lights. "It's so surreal being out here." 

A sled hockey bench with real ice and transparent boards. The ice has Beijing 2022 printed on it in black.

The benches and the penalty boxes feature real ice, rather than synthetic ice, which is used in a lot of adaptive facilities.

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