The dates and location for the 2017 International Paralympic Committee Sled Hockey World Championship have been set for April 11-20 in Gangneung, South Korea. Team USA will be among seven federations competing for gold in what will be doubled as a test event for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
The tournament, which will also feature Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway, South Korea and Sweden, will be staged at the newly refurbished Gangneung Hockey Center (10,000). Teams will play a round-robin preliminary round. The final schedule will be released in the coming weeks.
Team USA enters the tournament as the defending gold medalist after claiming the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship on home ice in Buffalo, New York. At the 2015 event, the U.S. won all five of its games by a combined 29-1 margin to claim its third gold medal in the last four world championships (gold: 2009, 2012; silver: 2013). Forward Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) led the team with 11 points (5-6) to set a Team USA record for most points in a world championship.
The 2017 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship will mark the second competition for the U.S. of the 2016-17 campaign. In December, Team USA defeated Canada, 5-2, to claim the 2016 (Dec.) World Sled Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Forward Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) paced all skaters in goals (8), assists (9) and points (17) to lead the tournament in scoring for the third straight time while goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) led all goaltenders with a .921 save percentage.
The victory was Team USA's sixth straight major international tournament title, a streak that began with the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. In its winning streak, the U.S. has claimed the 2016 (Dec.) World Sled Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, P.E.I.; the 2016 IPC Sled Hockey Pan-Pacifc Championship in Buffalo, New York; the 2016 (Jan.) 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.
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NOTES: Labatt USA is a proud sponsor of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team … Team USA will hold two training camps prior to the 2017 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship. The first will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 23-26, while the second camp will be held in Santa Barbara, California, March 23-26 … The 2016-17 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team is led by captain Andy Yohe (Bettendorf, Iowa) and alternate captains Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.) and Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.). In addition to Landeros and Pauls, the U.S. roster includes two other two-time Paralympic gold medalists, including forward Adam Page (Lancaster, N.Y.) and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) ... Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of inline and sled hockey national teams for USA Hockey, returns as the general manager of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Head coach Jeff Sauer (Madison, Wis.) is in his sixth season behind the bench for Team USA while David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.) is in his first season as an assistant coach. Additional team staff members include athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.), equipment manager Joel Isaacson (Houghton, Mich.), and team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.). Cortese, Isaacson, and Uihlein have been staff members for the past four seasons.