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Becoming agents of change

Hockey Canada introduced mandatory diversity and inclusion training for its athletes and staff, with an eye towards its commitment to making a difference in Canada’s game

Jason La Rose
|
July 24, 2020

More than a week later, there’s one singular sentence that sticks with Sarah Nurse.

“Diversity is who’s on the team, but inclusion is who gets to play.”

The National Women’s Team forward was one of close to 500 athletes and staff involved with Canada’s national teams – men’s, women’s and para hockey – who took part in mandatory diversity and inclusion training last week.

Hockey Canada remains committed to continuing to listen and learn, and being open to change in an effort to take action around diversity. The seminars are an early step in that commitment.

Discussions on diversity and inclusion had actually been going on for more than a year, championed by Denise Pattyn, Hockey Canada’s director of human resources. As the world changed in the last few months, the conversations picked up.

“We had an opportunity in early June to just continue to have that discussion and talk about what the next steps in her plan were,” says Scott Salmond, senior vice-president of national teams with Hockey Canada. “And then it came to light that with some other things that were happening in our game and around our game and in the world, that we were really short-sighted in not providing an opportunity and taking advantage, quite honestly, of the time that we have right now with our athletes virtually to have an impact.”

Salmond and Pattyn did their research and found Tina Varughese, who has worked extensively with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office and is the president of t Works Inc., which that specializes in cross-cultural communication and work-life balance seminars, and provides customized cultural diversity training.

“She understands the game and she had a really great way of communicating her message to the athletes,” Salmond says.

Varughese focused her seminars on the idea of unconscious bias – underlying attitudes and stereotypes that people attribute to another person or group of people that affect how they understand and engage with others.

“I think the majority of us, if not everyone, feels like they don't have bias towards people. They don't discriminate,” Salmond says. “But when you start to understand what an unconscious bias is and the language that you maybe use in the conversations that you have with other people, you realize that in some ways, without even meaning it, maybe you've created that bias or maybe you have that bias.”

For her part, Varughese was thrilled with the response she received from the athletes and staff.

“They were very keen to be an agent of change … this was incredibly inspiring for me because they are all athletes and in positions of influence,” she said in an interview last week with the Toronto Star.

“I felt they were much more transparent and honest about not only recognizing that they either had unconscious bias or didn’t even know what it was, but they were also very transparent in understanding what other people might go through.”

So what comes next? How does Hockey Canada ensure this is a conversation that continues internally, and also reaches outside the organization to the greater hockey community?

“We've done the virtual part, [so] next time that we have players together, we workshop,” Salmond says. “Talk about what we want the environment to look like, what the athletes want it to look like. I think it's one thing to have a policy or an expectation and to present that or write that somewhere. It's more powerful if the athletes are behind it and they have an opportunity to create it.

“It's really a responsibility that we have as a national sport organization and an opportunity that we have with our athletes and our staff to have an impact at the national level. And hopefully that impact finds its way to club teams and into communities across Canada.”

Canada vs. United States

Para Worlds Preview: Canada vs. United States

Sunday, May 12 | 5:30 p.m. MT | Calgary, Alberta | Gold Medal Game

Jason La Rose
|
May 12, 2024

This one’s for all the marbles. The 2024 World Para Hockey Championship comes to a close Sunday at WinSport Arena with an all-North American matchup for gold as Canada’s National Para Hockey Team takes on the United States.

Last Game

Canada survived a semifinal thriller, getting goals 84 seconds apart from Micah Kovacevich and Dominic Cozzolino early in the third period to earn a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over China on Friday night. Tyler McGregor added two assists for the Canadians.

The Americans had a nail-biter of their own in Friday’s first semifinal, getting the go-ahead goal from Malik Jones with 7:01 remaining to earn a 3-1 win over Czechia and a chance to defend their world title. Chris Douglas scored the other two goals for the U.S.

Last Meeting

The Canadians and Americans have met 10 times this season, most recently in the finale of a brief two-game series in Calgary in early April. Liam Hickey scored for Canada, but the Americans got a goal and an assist from Josh Misiewicz and the game-winner from Declan Farmer to leave the Canadians with a 4-1 defeat.

What to Watch

Adam Kingsmill continues to be an absolute workhorse for the Canadians this season; the Smithers, B.C., product has appeared in 17 of the 20 games played by Canada’s National Para Hockey Team this season and was terrific in the semifinals. After having faced just 11 shots across his first two starts, Kingsmill turned away 14 of 15 on Friday night, keeping the Canadians in the game as they looked to break through the Chinese defence and erase an early deficit. Not bad for a netminder who wasn’t part of the Canadian roster a year ago at Para Worlds and had just 10 international appearances on his résumé entering this season.

The American offence starts and ends with Farmer. The 26-year-old is once again at the top of the tournament scoring chart, posting 19 points (10-9—19) in four games, including a four-goal game in the Day 1 win over Slovakia and an eight-point effort in a win over China in the prelim finale. But the most important play the Tampa native has made all tournament long might not have come with the puck on his stick; with the U.S. clinging to a one-goal lead late in its semifinal with the Czechs, Farmer sprawled across the goal line to deny Czech captain Radek Zelinka and ensure he would have a shot at a fifth world championship.

A Look Back

The head-to-head history between the Canadians and Americans is very close, with the U.S. holding a narrow 66-59-1 advantage.

The Americans have had the upper hand as of late; the last win for Canada came back on Oct. 29, 2021, when Anton Jacobs-Webb scored the winner 13 seconds into the third period, helping the Canadians earn a 4-2 victory in the opener of a two-game series in the St. Louis suburbs.

It’s the seventh time the rivals will meet for Para Worlds gold, and the seventh in a row. Canada has won two of those finals, claiming a pair of world titles on Korean ice – 2013 in Goyang and 2017 in Gangneung.

All-time record: United States leads 66-59-1 (13-8 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 243
United States goals: 278

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Canada wins gold at 2024 World Para Hockey Championship

Canadians capture first gold medal at Para Worlds since 2017

NR.033.24
|
May 12, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – Canada’s National Para Hockey Team has won gold at the World Para Hockey Championship for the first time since 2017, defeating the United States 2-1 in Sunday’s gold medal game at WinSport Arena.

Adam Kingsmill (Smithers, BC)
turned in a sensational performance in the Canadian goal, making 24 saves and earning Player of the Game honours.

The Canadians wasted no time in opening the scoring; Dominic Cozzolino (Mississauga, ON) tucked in his seventh goal of the tournament off a rebound from a Rob Armstrong (Erin, ON) shot just 35 seconds into the game, the lone goal of the first period.

“Scoring that early felt amazing. It was our plan to come out and get an early start, but it could have been any one of the guys in our locker room that scored, I was just in the right place at the right time,” Cozzolino said.We put a lot of pride in selling out to play good defence, and that win is a testament to every guy in on our team. This is an amazing feeling; it is what you dream of as a kid. This feels so good right now.”

Anton Jacobs-Webb (Gatineau, QC) doubled the Canadian lead off a behind-the-net feed from captain Tyler McGregor (Forest, ON) with 5:54 remaining in the second period for the eventual game-winning goal.

“I had the same mindset for every game. Our head coach Russ Herrington has brought us through with a strong mindset, so I think everyone on our team was able to play freely today,” Kingsmill said. “I did not see the puck very often because my teammates kept blocking shots. They made the game easy for me. I feel great, my whole family is here. I cannot help but smile. I do not have words to sum it all up right now, I think it will take a little while before I can do that.”

For a full game summary and recap, please visit HockeyCanada.ca.

“We needed to be ready for the day that things aligned for us – that is our responsibility. I have to credit our guys for showing patience and allowing the weight of the game to not become an impact on their performance,” said head coach Russ Herrington (Unionville, ON). “Props to the Calgary community for coming out tonight and spending Mother’s Day evening here cheering on Team Canada. I really felt like that energy helped us for sure, and you could certainly feel the pride from the crowd oozing into our bench and carried on the ice.”

Following the game, Cozzolino was named the Top Forward of the tournament.

Canada finished first in Group B with a perfect 3-0 record in the preliminary round with wins over Japan (19-0), Italy (10-0) and Czechia (5-1). Canada then booked its spot in the gold medal game with a 2-1 semifinal victory over China.

In 13 appearances, Canada has captured five gold medals at the World Para Hockey Championship (2000, 2008, 2013, 2017, 2024), in addition to four silver (2015, 2019, 2021, 2023) and three bronze (1996, 2009, 2012).

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Para Hockey Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on FacebookX and Instagram.

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Canada vs. Sweden

Para Worlds Preview: Canada vs. China

Friday, May 10 | 5:30 p.m. MT | Calgary, Alberta | Semifinal

Jason La Rose
|
May 10, 2024

It’s on to the playoffs for Canada’s National Para Hockey Team, which takes on China in the second semifinal Friday at the 2024 World Para Hockey Championship.

Last Game

Canada closed out a perfect preliminary round with a 5-1 win over Czechia on Tuesday night. Tyler McGregor finished with a pair of goals – including the game-winner just 11 seconds into the second period – as did James Dunn. Liam Hickey added a goal and two assists, while Dominic Cozzolino had three helpers.

The Chinese finished out their prelim schedule with a 10-0 loss to the United States on Tuesday afternoon. After scoring 10 goals in each of their first two games to earn a semifinal spot, China managed just three shots against the Americans. Wei Wang finished with 20 saves in the Chinese goal.

Last Meeting

The Canadians and Chinese met for the first time ever at the 2023 Para Hockey Cup in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, last December. After scoring a 4-1 win in the tournament opener, Canada earned a 6-0 semifinal victory on the back of a McGregor hat trick and four assists from Cozzolino.

What to Watch

Auren Halbert has been terrific in front of the hometown fans in Calgary, contributing a goal and three assists in three prelim games. The 21-year-old also shares the team lead (alongside McGregor and Hickey) with a +15 mark. And while the Cozzolino-Hickey-McGregor triumvirate has posted a ridiculous 45 points (20-25—45) between them, the Canadians are getting contributions from up and down the lineup – eight of the nine forwards and all four defencemen averaged at least a point per game in the preliminary round.

While the offence dried up against the Americans, China was all over the scoresheet in shutout wins over Korea and Slovakia. And it was offence by committee – five players (Shen Yi Feng, Zhang Zheng, Zhu Zhan Fu, Tian Jin Tao, Li Hong Guan) posted at least five points in the two wins, while Song Xiao Dong scored a team-high five goals. In goal, Ji Yan Zhao was perfect between the pipes, turning aside all 13 shots he faced in the two wins.

A Look Back

Nothing to look back at that hasn’t already been mentioned above. Two games in Quispamsis, two wins for Canada.

All-time record: Canada leads 2-0
Canada goals: 10
China goals: 1

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A place to belong

Since 2011, the Calgary Sledge Hockey Association has been creating opportunities – and building Team Canada athletes like Auren Halbert along the way

Lee Boyadjian
|
May 09, 2024

Smiles, laughter and pure joy. The first time getting on the ice for anyone who loves the game quickly becomes a core memory. But for Auren Halbert, it was so much more.

“It was the first time I'd ever had a competitive outlet, and to be among other people with similar disabilities, it was just incredible,” says the 22-year-old, who was born without a femur in his left leg.

Playing at the 2024 World Para Hockey Championship on home ice in Calgary is special for Auren. He played the preliminary round in front a sizeable contingent of family and friends, most with a direct connection to the Calgary Sledge Hockey Association (CSHA), the launching point of his career.

“We've had a great run of Team Canada men’s players that have come through our organization: Cody Dolan, Zach Lavin, Auren and Adam Kingsmill,” says Alan Halbert, president of the CSHA and proud dad to Auren. “But we're not here to build everybody into Team Canada players, we’re here to build people into the best versions of themselves.

“We just want to go out and have fun.”

The CSHA has had a presence in the Stampede City since the 1980s, but has grown from about 20 players to more than 80 since officially incorporating in 2011, with more than 20 coaches and volunteers giving support. There are programs for players of any age, skill and ability level.

Teams are divided by age and skill level, with players under 18 years old making up the junior team (Venom) before graduating to the intermediate team (Stingers), though high-performance athletes may transition through the levels more quickly. The senior team (Scorpions) is the highest level available and competes provincially or even nationally.

The senior team wasn’t always the powerhouse it has developed into, and a decade ago Alan had to learn the sport himself to help with the roster.

“At that time, I was naïve. I was like ‘Can I play? It’s kind of a disability sport.’ But now everybody is in there, it’s so inclusive,” he explains, adding that he has seen teams built as able-bodied friends and family support a loved-one with a disability.

“He started a couple years after I did and at first he was definitely a better player than I was,” Auren says of his dad with a laugh. “That definitely helped with my competitiveness; I just had to prove to my dad that I was a better player than he was.”

While there is no question the younger Halbert has become the stronger of the two, it is the dedication of Alan and his wife, Ashley, to the CSHA that has had a major impact on his own commitment to the game.

“It’s honestly unbelievable the amount of effort [my parents] have put into the organization,” Auren says. “It’s just super awesome to be able to have such good support in the city.

“It’s pretty inspiring to see how passionate [my parents] are about this.”

Alan has held just about every role within the association: athlete, coach, board member and treasurer. He took on the presidency in 2017 but shortly after was relocated to Pittsburgh for work. With no one else interested in the position, he remained at the helm, working remotely long before that was the norm. Seven years later, Alan is still president and continues to look for ways to grow the CSHA.

“We are kind of on the forefront of always trying to expand the sport, not only within Calgary, but we help a lot of the surrounding areas and provinces as well,” Alan explains. “We have a really great rapport with a lot of teams that we were playing as Auren was growing up, and they were just creating their programs… so they wanted to do something and we're there to help them or just to play.”

Auren also remains active with the CSHA, practicing and sometimes playing with the senior team. He also hopes to help with a summer camp this year “just to get out and teach people what I know.”

But first, the young defenceman has to close out his fifth season with Canada’s National Para Hockey Team with his fourth Para Worlds, in the same rink where he saw Team Canada play for the first time 13 years ago.

“In Auren’s first season, we kind of got going, hit the ground running and within a couple of months the World Sledge Hockey Challenge was [in Calgary],” Alan remembers. “I think he ended up on the ice as a flag-bearer, so got really exposed and that fueled his fire from a young age.

“It’s kind of come full circle.”

Auren knows this Para Worlds is his opportunity to create that same drive in a young athlete and bring new fans to the game. And while that motivates his play, he is eager to put on a show for the people who have supported him from the beginning.

“I think it'll be the first time a lot of my family have seen me play at this level, so it’s going to be pretty meaningful to be able to show them all I can do,” Auren says. “To have people I know in the stands and to know that they're all cheering for me and maybe hear a couple chants from them in the crowd… this will definitely be one of the greatest moments of all time for me.”

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Canada vs. Sweden

Para Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Czechia

Tuesday, May 7 | 5 p.m. MT | Calgary, Alberta | Preliminary Round

Jason La Rose
|
May 07, 2024

First place in Group B is on the line Tuesday night when Canada’s National Para Hockey Team closes out the preliminary round against Czechia in a battle of unbeaten teams at the 2024 World Para Hockey Championship.

Last Game

Canada continued its offensive roll Sunday against Italy, reaching double digits for the second time in as many games in a 10-0 victory. Tyler McGregor led the charge with four goals and an assist, while Liam Hickey added two goals and four assists to take over the tournament scoring lead with 13 points (5-8—13) in two games.

The Czechs also made it two wins in as many tries Sunday, posting a 5-0 victory over Japan. Filip Vesely scored twice and added an assist, and Vaclav Hecko chipped in with a goal and a helper. Martin Kudela made eight saves for the shutout for the defending bronze medallists.

Last Meeting

Five months ago, the Canadians and Czechs clashed in preliminary-round play at the 2023 Para Hockey Cup in Quispamsis, New Brunswick. Dominic Cozzolino scored twice in the second period and Anton Jacobs-Webb rounded out the scoring in the third as Canada earned a 3-0 win.

What to Watch

He did get a lot of the headlines, but Tyrone Henry was in the spotlight Sunday night as he played his 100th game with Canada’s National Para Hockey Team. The Ottawa native has long been known for his stalwart defensive play, but he’s been all over the scoresheet through two games; after recording 17 assists across his first 98 games, he had six on the weekend in Calgary, including five in the opening win over Japan on Sautrday. The two-time Paralympian became the 14th player to reach the century mark with Team Canada.

Radek Zelinka leads from the back end for the Czechs; he was named Best Defenceman a year ago in Moose Jaw after scoring three goals to help the Czechs to bronze, and he has three assists through two games in Calgary. Kudela is a workhorse in the Czech goal; he played every second at the 2023 Para Worlds, and has been between the pipes for both games so far in 2024, turning aside 12 of 13 shots in wins over the Italians and Japanese.

A Look Back

Canada is perfect against the Czechs, winning all 16 of their meetings since 2009.

The biggest win came in the prelims at the 2021 Para Worlds on Czech ice in Ostrava, when Tyler McGregor and Zach Lavin contributed hat tricks to a 10-0 Canadian win. McGregor finished with five points in that one, while Billy Bridges chipped in with four assists.

All-time record: Canada leads 16-0
Canada goals: 63
Czechia goals: 4

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Canada vs. Sweden

Para Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Italy

Sunday, May 5 | 5 p.m. MT | Calgary, Alberta | Preliminary Round

Jason La Rose
|
May 05, 2024

Canada’s National Para Hockey Team is right back to action at the 2024 World Para Hockey Championship on Sunday, taking on Italy in the second of its three preliminary-round games at WinSport Arena.

Last Game

Canada flexed its offensive muscle in its tournament opener Saturday, scoring 10 goals in the first period en route to a 19-0 win over Japan. Dominic Cozzolino finished with four goals and four assists, and Adam Dixon, Liam Hickey and Tyler McGregor all had hat tricks for the Canadians, who had their most profilic offensive performance since coming under the Hockey Canada umbrella in 2004.

The Italians closed out Day 1 at WinSport Arena with a 4-1 loss to Czechia. Nils Larch scored the lone goal on a third-period power play, while Sandro Stillitano was terrific in a 28-save effort in the Italian goal.

Last Meeting

The Canadians and Italians last clashed in preliminary-round play at the 2022 Para Hockey Cup in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, an 8-0 win for Canada. James Dunn paced the offence with a hat trick and an assist, while Tyler McGregor netted a pair of goals as the Canadians racked up 48 shots on goal.

What to Watch

How about the top line? Cozzolino, Hickey and McGregor dominated the scoresheet against the Japanese, combining for 10 goals and 22 points – in addition to Cozzolino’s effort mentioned above, Hickey and McGregor each had a hat trick and three assists. Big numbers are nothing new for the trio – McGregor (11-10—21 in 16 GP) and Cozzolino (6-12—18 in 16 GP) were Canada’s top scorers this season, while Hickey (4-2—6 in 11 GP) found his game towards the end of the season after missing almost a year through injury.

Age is just a number for Stillitano. The goaltender – who will celebrate his 55th birthday next month – had another standout performance on the world stage in the opener against the Czechs. A year ago in Moose Jaw, the Italian puck-stopper was named Best Goaltender by the tournament directorate after posting a 2.11 goals-against average and a tournament-best .906 save percentage. The four-time Paralympian is playing in his 11th world championship.

A Look Back

Thirteen games, 13 wins for Canada in the head-to-head history, outscoring the Italians 87-3.

The last meeting at Para Worlds came back in 2017 in South Korea; Hickey and Billy Bridges recorded two goals and two assists in a 7-0 win for the Canadians, who ended that tournament by winning their fourth and most recent world title.

All-time record: Canada leads 13-0
Canada goals: 87
Italy goals: 3

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Canada vs. Sweden

Para Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Japan

Saturday, May 4 | 5 p.m. MT | Calgary, Alberta | Preliminary Round

Jason La Rose
|
May 04, 2024

Canada’s National Para Hockey Team is set to drop the puck at the 2024 World Para Hockey Championship, welcoming Japan to WinSport Arena on Saturday to get preliminary-round play started in Group B.

Last Game

Canada closed out its brief two-game series against the United States with a 4-1 loss on April 5 on the same Calgary ice that will host Para Worlds. Liam Hickey provided the lone goal for the Canadians, who got 16 saves from Adam Kingsmill in defeat.

Results from the 2023-24 season are scarce for the Japanese, so let’s go back to the 2023 Pool B Para Worlds, when they booked their place in Pool A with an unbeaten run in Astana, Kazakhstan. They capped the tournament with an 8-0 win over Finland in their round-robin finale, getting two goals and two assists from captain Masaharu Kumagai.

Last Meeting

You have to go all the way back to the prelim opener at the 2015 worlds in Buffalo, when Canada romped to its second-biggest victory ever, 17-0. Greg Westlake – who is on the Canadian staff as an assistant coach in Calgary – finished with five goals and three assists, Brad Bowden added three goals and five helpers and Canada scored 12 goals in the opening 15 minutes.

What to Watch

Tyler McGregor loves the big stage. The Canadian captain has led or co-led Canada in scoring at each of the last three world championships – in 2019 (6-7—13), 2021 (8-3—11) and 2023 (4-6—10) – and he finished second to Adam Dixon in 2017 (12-5—17). McGregor comes into Para Worlds needing just three goals to pass Bowden for the third-most in Team Canada history (128).

Kumagai is the offensive star for Japan. He led the way a year ago in Astana with 11 goals and six assists in five games, including a seven-goal, eight-point outing against Great Britain, and his totals don’t include a crucial goal in the shootout against Slovakia, a win that all but clinched a place in Pool A for the Asian side.

A Look Back

Canada has owned the head-to-head history, winning 22 of 23 games and outscoring Japan 164-18.

Remember the note above about the 17-0 win in 2015 being the SECOND-biggest ever? The largest margin of victory for Canada came in 2010 – an 18-0 rout in Rochester, New York. Dixon led the charge with three goals and three assists for the Canadians, who racked up 53 shots on goal.

All-time record: Canada leads 22-1
Canada goals: 164
Japan goals: 18

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National Para Hockey Team roster named for 2024 World Para Hockey Championship

17 players will go for gold on home ice in Calgary

NR.024.24
|
April 18, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – With less than a month until the puck drops, Hockey Canada has announced the 17 players who will wear the Maple Leaf with Canada’s National Para Hockey Team and compete for a gold medal at the 2024 World Para Hockey Championship, May 4-12 at WinSport Arena in Calgary.

The roster – two goaltenders, five defenceman and 10 forwards - was selected by head coach Russ Herrington (Unionville, ON) and assistant coaches Mike Fountain (Gravenhurst, ON), Boris Rybalka (Vernon, BC) and Greg Westlake (Oakville, ON).  

“We have been working hard to grow as a team since our initial evaluation camp in September. All of our players have shown resiliency and perseverance this season, which has made it challenging - in the best of ways - as staff to assemble this roster,” said Herrington. “Representing Canada on home ice is a special opportunity and we are confident this group will put in the necessary efforts to make Canadians proud from coast to coast to coast.”

The journey to the world championship began last September in Calgary, where 30 players were invited to evaluation camp. The competition schedule included the IPH Cup in Ostrava, Czechia, the Para Hockey Cup in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, and two series against the United States in Minot, North Dakota, and Calgary.

The roster features 12 players who won a silver medal at the 2023 World Para Hockey Championship (Boily, Burnett, Cozzolino, Dixon, Dunn, Halbert, Henry, Jacobs-Webb, Kovacevich, Lelièvre, McGregor, Smith), and 14 who captured a silver medal at the 2023 Para Hockey Cup (Armstrong, Burnett, Cozzolino, Dixon, Dunn, Halbert, Henry, Hickey, Jacobs-Webb, Kingsmill, Kovacevich, Lavin, McGregor, Smith).

The support staff that will work with Canada’s National Para Hockey Team during the 2024 World Para Hockey Championship are:

  • Assistant coach, mindset and leadership Liam Heelis (Georgetown, ON)
  • Video coach Steve Arsenault (Spruce Grove, AB)
  • Equipment managers Grant Boswall (Cornwall, PE) and Tyler Jay (Charlottetown, PE)
  • Athletic therapist Tracy Meloche (Essex, ON)
  • Team physician Dr. Danielle Kelton (Guelph, ON)
  • Hockey operations coordinator Hannah Curlock (Calgary, AB)
  • ​Communications coordinator ​Jacob Wolfenden (Hamilton, ON)

Canada will be joined by Czechia, Italy and Japan in Group B at the world championship, while Group A features China, Korea, Slovakia and the United States.

Canada opens its preliminary-round schedule on Saturday, May 4 at 5 p.m. MT against Japan. It will face Italy on May 5 before closing out prelim action against Czechia on May 7.

Fans can guarantee their seat by purchasing a full-event ticket package for as low as $99 at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets.

All 20 tournament games will be available for free via livestream at HockeyCanada.ca.

Canada has captured four gold medals at the World Para Hockey Championship (2000, 2008, 2013, 2017), in addition to four silver (2015, 2019, 2021, 2023) and three bronze (1996, 2009, 2012).

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Para Hockey Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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Susan Sloan wearing a shirt that says Volunteer in front of a balloon arch.

The gratitude for volunteering

After making the choice to begin volunteering to make friends in a new town, Susan Sloan can’t imagine what her life would be like without giving back to her community

Shannon Coulter
|
April 18, 2024

Susan Sloan can’t imagine her life without volunteering. In fact, she feels her life would be the complete opposite of what it is now if she hadn’t started donating her time.

Throughout her life, Sloan has had a variety of different jobs, from working in a bakery to an IT specialist and a fitness instructor at the YMCA. After moving to Orleans, Ontario—a community in the east end of Ottawa—in the early 2000s, Sloan took a one-year contact with Volunteer Canada that would change the course of her life.

“I thought since I’m working as their membership manager, I probably should know a little bit more about this volunteering thing,” she says. “But I had already decided that volunteering was the route that I wanted to take, really just to start making friends because I literally had none.”

Her first volunteer position was with Canadian Heritage to help with their Winter Lights Across Canada event. From there, she learned about Winterlude in Ottawa and decided to volunteer for it as well. By then she was on a roll, so she signed up to help with the Canada Day festivities.

“Those were my signature events—every year, with the exception of COVID, you would find me at all three of those events come hell or high water,” she says. “That was my core, and they are still my core to this day: 22 years later, I’m still volunteering with Canadian Heritage.”

Susan Sloan lies down in front to pose with a group of volunteers at a Canadian Heritage event in Ottawa

Interspersed between her three core events, Sloan got involved in “little adventures” to explore new volunteer experiences in areas she was interested in.

“I loved sports, so I would pretty much put myself into any event that needed volunteers,” she explains. “In Ottawa, it’s like a laundry list of opportunities; you could be busy every weekend starting on Thursday.”

She began with a volleyball tournament, then taught Zumba at Relay for Life. Soon her volunteer experiences began snowballing into more new opportunities in sports.

“Sports has always been my happy place,” she says. “Being in a small community and in Ottawa, once you are known and you’re affiliated with certain events, you start to get asked to work other events and help out.

“I’ve had some amazing opportunities that I would never have had anything to do with had I not been a volunteer.”

When Canada’s National Women’s Team came to Ottawa in 2021 for the Rivalry Series, Sloan volunteered to help with the Olympic jersey reveal and managed guests coming into the game.

“It was really delightful working with Hockey Canada,” she says. “I really appreciated and respected the respect that we received, and the gratefulness for just doing something that was so minor.”

Later this year, the 2025 IIHF World Junior Championship will be hosted in Ottawa. Through her connections gained from volunteering and her reputation in the community, Sloan was presented with a new opportunity: to become the volunteer co-chair for World Juniors. And coming from a family that loves hockey and watches the tournament every year, she agreed.

“The fact that I was asked to do [World Juniors] … they chose me. That was a choice and to be that choice is probably one of the most rewarding things in the world. And none of this would have happened had it not been for volunteering.”

Susan Sloan poses beside a Hockey Canada welcome sign

When the puck drops in December, Sloan is most excited for the tourists and guests to experience what Ottawa has to offer.

“It’s so amazing because as volunteers, you’re in the chaos of everything,” she says. “I love the diversity it brings to the city. It brings a certain energy that the only way you’re going to know what it’s like is if you’re there. It’s amazing to be a part of something.

“People are coming in from all over the world, and you get a chance to mingle with them. You get a chance to show up for your city.”

With her experience in so many volunteer positions, Sloan has a thorough understanding of the value every volunteer brings to the table.

“The synergy that’s created when you are with like-minded people is magical. You have volunteers who, without them, no event would happen,” she says. “IIHF wouldn’t run without their volunteers. Canada Day would not run without its volunteers.”

As her experience allowed her to help others begin their volunteer journeys, Sloan has seen people blossom in ways they never thought was possible. And for Sloan, there are no words to describe the gratitude she has for making the decision to begin volunteering 22 years ago.

“Everything that I am, everything that I will be, is because of volunteering,” she says. “There are not many things in our lives that we put this much effort into that the rewards are amplified upon receipt. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without volunteering.”

Interested in volunteering when the world comes back to Ottawa this winter? Registration for the TELUS World Juniors Volunteer Program is now open!

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Women’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. United States

Sunday, April 14 | 5 p.m. ET | Utica, New York | Gold Medal Game

Jason La Rose, Shannon Coulter
|
April 14, 2024

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. UNITED STATES (APRIL 14)

Here we go. Canada’s National Women's Team is one win away from a record-extending 13th gold medal at the IIHF Women’s World Championship, taking on the host Americans in the gold medal game Sunday night.

Last Game

Canada took care of business in the semifinals, shutting out Czechia 4-0 to advance to the gold medal game. Laura Stacey set up first-period goals for Blayre Turnbull and Jocelyne Larocque. Emily Clark and Sarah Fillier rounded out the scoring for the Canadians. Ann-Renée Desbiens made nine saves while Canada put 47 shots on Czechia’s Klara Peslarova.

The United States come into the gold medal game undefeated, earning a 5-0 shutout of Finland in the semifinals. University of Wisconsin forward Laila Edwards recorded a hat trick, with Hannah Bilka and Savannah Harmon finding the back of the net as well. Finland’s Sanni Ahola made 50 saves, while Aerin Frankel stopped 15 shots for the semifinal win.

Last Meeting 

The North American rivals played arguably the best game of the preliminary round last Monday, with the Canadians dropping a narrow 1-0 decision in overtime. Ann-Renée Desbiens was absolutely sensational, finishing with 29 saves, but Canada couldn’t solve Frankel. It marked just the third time in 184 all-time meetings that Canada and the U.S. went 60 minutes goalless – the other two were both in Women’s Worlds gold medal games, in 2005 and 2016.

What to Watch 

While names like Poulin, Nurse, Spooner and Fast get the headlines, Jocelyne Larocque continues to just go about her business quietly and effectively. Set to play in her 10th Women’s Worlds gold medal game, the Ste. Anne, Manitoba, product – who cracked list of top-10 oldest players to represent Canada at the tournament (she was 35 years, 10 months, 17 days for the prelim opener) – leads the Canadian contingent in time on ice (22:21 per game) and tops the tournament with a plus/minus of +15. She’s also chipped in with a goal and four assists in six games.

In order for Canada to have success today, they will need to find a way past Frankel. She has had a record-breaking tournament for the United States, allowing only three goals in five games, with a 0.59 goals-against average and a 0.962 saves percentage. With her semifinal shutout, the 24-year-old set the record for the most shutouts at a single Women’s Worlds with four.

A Look Back 

This will be the 22nd time Canada and the U.S. have met for gold at Women’s Worlds, with Canada holding a 12-9 edge in the first 21. Nor surprisingly, these two teams always seem to play a close game with a world title on the line.

Prior to last year’s 6-3 win for the Americans – which was a tie game with less than four minutes to go – seven of the previous eight gold medal games were one-goal contests, and the only outlier, in 2015, was a two-goal game. Those eight games included five that needed overtime – in 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2021.

All-time record: Canada leads 104-79-1 (23-20 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 508 
United States goals: 445

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For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

Videos
Photos
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MWC: Highlights – CAN 6, SVK 3 (Quarterfinal)
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MWC: Highlights – CAN 4, CZE 3 OT (Preliminary)
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MWC: Remembering the wild ride in Riga
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Centennial: Highlights – Collingwood 1, Melfort 0 (Championship)
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MWC: Highlights – CAN 3, SUI 2 (Preliminary)
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MWC: Highlights – CAN 5, FIN 3 (Preliminary)
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NMT: Evason brings passion and pride to Prague
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MWC: Highlights – CAN 4, NOR 1 (Preliminary)
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Miramichi Timberwolves (MHL) vs. Collingwood Blues (OJHL)| Centennial Cup
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Calgary Canucks (AJHL) vs. Melfort Mustangs (SJHL)| Centennial Cup
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Centennial: From brothers to teammates
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Winkler Flyers (MJHL) vs. Calgary Canucks (AJHL) | Centennial Cup
Schedule
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Prague & Ostrava, Czechia
Date: May 10 to 26
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Edmonton, Alta., Canada
Date: Aug 3 to 10