The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team takes on Canada tonight on home ice here in Buffalo, New York. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. ET here at the HarborCenter and will be streamed live on HockeyTV.
This is the third meeting between the two teams this season. At the 2017 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, P.E.I. last December, the U.S. topped Canada, 5-2, in the preliminary round before claiming the championship game by a 3-2 count.
THE SERIES VS. CANADA
Since the 2014-15 season, the two teams have met 15 times, with the U.S. posting a 10-2-1-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record. All-time, the teams have met on 88 occasions with the United States holding a 25-9-8-45-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) record.
Entering the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the U.S. and Canada have met in seven straight major international title games. In that span, the U.S. has claimed six wins, with its only championship loss against Canada coming last April at the 2017 Para Sled Hockey World Championship in Gangneung, South Korea. The last time the two teams did not meet in a championship game was in the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge, when the U.S. and Russia met in a rematch of the gold medal game of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Gams, which the U.S. won, 1-0.
OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES EXCITEMENT
While the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team has its sights on this weekend's home-and-home series with rival Canada, all eyes are also on the Olympic Winter Games and the Opening Ceremony tomorrow. The U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team arrived last week and begin play Feb. 11 while the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team started its arrivals yesterday and open tournament play on Feb. 14. For daily updates, click here.
PAULS AN NHL AMBASSADOR FOR HOCKEY IS FOR EVERYONE
On Feb. 1, the NHL unveiled U.S. captain Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.) as one its ambassadors for Hockey Is For Everyone month, which aims to reaffirm that the official policy of the sport is one of inclusion on the ice, in the locker rooms and in the stands. Around the hockey community, leagues and teams will celebrate the game's diversity and commitment to respect for all.
"I believe that the Hockey Is For Everyone initiative is important each year because many people, especially at a young age, are not usually comfortable pushing for inclusion," said Pauls. "With the NHL and its partners putting it out there that everyone is welcome in the sport of hockey, it opens the door for people of different backgrounds to feel a part of a family that they may not have had in the past or in any other setting."
RETURN TO BUFFALO
Tonight's home game is just the latest international ice hockey event to be taking place in Buffalo, New York. Last December and January, the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship was held here at the KeyBank Center and HarborCenter. The 31-game tournament saw Canada take gold, Sweden earn silver and the U.S. claim the bronze. The tournament saw the first-ever IIHF outdoor game when the U.S. edged Canada, 4-3, in a shootout in front of a record 44,492 fans at New Era Field, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills. Team USA's bronze medal finish was its third consecutive medal in the event, marking the first time the U.S. has medaled three-straight years. Other recent international events to take place in Buffalo include the 2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championship, the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship and the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship, all of which saw the U.S. claim championship wins over rival Canada.
CHICAGO RESIDENCY PROGRAM UNDERWAY
On Jan. 8, 2018, the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team relocated to Chicago where it is living and training as a team until the Paralympic Winter Games this March. The team will utilize ice time at West Meadows Ice Rink in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
"Our time in Chicago is all about coming together as a team," said Dan
Brennan, general manager of the 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team. "The Paralympics is the highest level our sport has to offer and for our players and staff to be able to train together in one location is something special as we continue to prepare towards the ultimate goal of winning a gold medal."