COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) of the 2015 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team is one of five nominees for the 2015 ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability, ESPN announced today. The winner will be determined by fan voting and presented at The ESPYs July 15 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. Fan voting is open now at ESPN.com/ESPYS and runs to July 15.
The ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) is an annual award show that honors sports and athletic achievement, both on an individual and team basis.
On May 3, Pauls helped the U.S. claim its third gold medal in the last four world championships by scoring the final goal in Team USA's 3-0 shutout victory over Canada in the gold-medal game. Pauls, who finished the tournament second among defensemen with seven points (4-3) in five games, was named Best Defensemen of the Tournament as awarded by the Directorate.
In his seventh year with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, Pauls finished the 2014-15 season with 13 points (8-5) in 13 games, including the overtime goal in the championship game of the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge on February 7, 2015, in Leduc, Alberta. His eight goals ranked third overall on Team USA and first among defensemen.
Pauls also tallied 22 goals and 25 points to help the Disabled Athletes Sports Association St. Louis Blues Sled Hockey Team claim the 2015 Midwest Sled Hockey League Championship and reach the semifinals of the 2015 Toyota-USA Hockey Sled Hockey National Championship in Buffalo, New York.
Pauls becomes the third U.S. sled hockey player to be nominated for the Best Male Athlete with a Disability ESPY. Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) won the award in 2010 and forward Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) received the honor in 2014. Josh Sweeney (Phoenix, Ariz.), captain of the 2015 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, was also honored during the 2014 ESPYS when he received the inaugural Pat Tillman Award for Service for his dedication to his country and helping others.