Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.), who has helped the U.S. capture the gold medal in the last three Paralympic Winter Games (2010, 2014, 2018), has been tabbed captain of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team for the 2018-19 season. In addition, two-time Paralympic gold medalists (2014, 2018) Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) and Rico Roman (Portland, Ore.) have been named alternate captains. The trio will lead the 2018-19 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in its season-opening tournament at the 2018 Para Hockey Cup next week (Dec. 3-8) here in London, Ontario.
"We're thrilled about the leadership group we have leading Team USA this season," said David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.), head coach of the 2018-19 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. "We have a room full of leaders, and in talking to the players, Josh, Declan and Rico continued to surface as individuals we want our leadership to build around. We're excited to get things underway here at the Para Hockey Cup."
The 2018 Para Hockey Cup, previously referred to as the World Sled Hockey Challenge, will feature the three medalists from the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea: the United States (gold), Canada (silver) and South Korea (bronze). The U.S. enters as four-time defending champions in the event having won the 2015, 2016 (Jan.), 2016 (Dec.) and 2017 events. Team USA arrived in London yesterday and will hold three skates before it opens play on Monday (Dec. 3) against host Canada. The 2018 Para Hockey Cup will be streamed live at HockeyTV.com. For more tournament information, click here.
Last season, Team USA skated to a 15-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record that included an unprecedented third straight Paralympic gold medal and first-place finishes at both the 2017 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown, P.E.I., and the 2018 Turin Para Ice Hockey International Tournament. In the first-time ever Paralympic gold-medal game meeting between the U.S. and Canada, the U.S. came from behind to defeat Canada, 2-1, in overtime for its fourth overall Paralympic gold medal (2002, 2010, 2014, 2018).
Pauls begins his 11th season with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and his second as team captain. Prior to serving as captain last season, Pauls spent three seasons (2014-17) as an alternate captain. Since making his national team debut in the 2008-09 season, Pauls has helped the U.S. capture 14 major international competitions, including three Paralympic Winter Games (2010, 2014, 2018), two Para Sled Hockey World Championships (2012, 2015), six Para Hockey Cups (2009, 2012, 2015, 2016 (Jan.), 2016 (Dec.), 2017) as well as the 2013 USA Hockey Sled Cup, 2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championship and 2018 Turin Para Ice Hockey International Tournament. He was named Best Defenseman by the directorate at both the 2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championship and 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship. In 138 games for Team USA, Pauls has compiled 101 points (37-64) while playing as both a forward and defenseman.
Farmer is entering his seventh season with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and his second as an alternate captain. At the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games last March, Farmer tied the U.S. and Paralympic records for goals in a single Paralympic Games with 11, including the game-tying and game-winning goals against Canada in the gold-medal game. At his first Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, Farmer helped Team USA earn a gold medal by tallying four points (3-1) in five games, and went on to be named the IPC's Best Male Athlete as well as the recipient of the 2014 ESPY for Best Male Athlete with a Disability. In addition to his two Paralympic gold medals, Farmer has helped Team USA claim 10 other major international events, including a Para Sled Hockey World Championship (2015), six Para Hockey Cups (2009, 2012, 2015, 2016 (Jan.), 2016 (Dec.), 2017), in addition to the 2013 USA Hockey Sled Cup, 2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championship and 2018 Turin Para Ice Hockey International Tournament. In total, Farmer holds 12 U.S. records, including a career-best 82 goals and 149 points in just 81 games.
A Purple Heart recipient and U.S. Army Veteran, Roman enters his eighth season with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team and his first as an alternate captain. A member of both the 2014 and 2018 gold medal-winning U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Teams, Roman made his national team debut in 2010-11 and skated four seasons with Team USA (2010-14) before rejoining the squad in the 2015-16 campaign. In total, Roman has helped the U.S. capture nine championships, including two Paralympic gold medals (2014, 2018), one world championship gold medal (2012), four Para Hockey Cups (2012, 2016 (Jan.), 2016 (Dec.), 2017), along with the 2013 USA Hockey Sled Cup, 2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championship and 2018 Turin Para Ice Hockey International Tournament. Entering the 2018-19 campaign, Roman has tallied 28 points (10-28) in 92 appearances while wearing the U.S. crest.
NOTES: Deloitte, Labatt USA and Toyota are proud sponsors of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... Since 2009, the U.S. has earned eight consecutive gold-medal game berths at the Paralympic and World Championship level, claiming six total gold medals ... Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.), director of sled national teams for USA Hockey, is serving as the general manager of the 2018-19 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... David Hoff (Bottineau, N.D.), USA Hockey's Northern Plains District Coach-In-Chief and assistant coach of last year's gold medal-winning 2018 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, is in his first season as head coach of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. Joining Hoff behind the bench is assistant coach Corey Gorder (Bottineau, N.D.). Additional staff members include team physician Mike Uihlein (Grafton, Wis.), athletic trainer Mike Cortese (Boynton Beach, Fla.), equipment manager Scott Aldrich (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and communications manager Jon Gomez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) ... For complete coverage of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, click here.