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Canada is Golden Again at the Para Hockey World Championships

Courtesy of Emma Dowsett

The 2024 World Para Ice Hockey Championships were held in Calgary, AB during May 4 to May 12 at Winsport. The tournament consisted of the teams in Pool A, which included Canada, Czechia, USA, Italy, Slovakia, Japan, South Korea, and China. 

Group 1 featured Canada, Italy, Czechia, and Japan. Group 2 held the USA, Slovakia, China, and South Korea. Both Canada and USA went unbeaten during the preliminary round which featured some blow out games including a 10-0 win by the USA over Slovakia, a 10-0 win for China over Korea, and a 19-0 win for Canada against Japan. 

The elimination rounds is where the games really started to fire up. Slovakia beat Italy 2-1 and Korea beat Japan 5-1 in the quarter finals. The first semi final between the US and Czechia was one of the most evenly matched games of the tournament. The US led 1-0 for most of the game before a goal by Martin Zizlavsky tied the game for the Czechs. While the US did take the win 3-1, Czechia brought the US a battle of a game. 

Canada was trailing 1-0 to China through 2 periods of play before they crawled back and scored 2 goals in the third period, pulling the Canadians through to the finals. 

Courtesy of Emma Dowsett

The Bronze Medal game featured Czechia and China in a tough matchup but the Czechs came out on top. A 3-2 final secured third and brought Czechia back to back bronze medalists in the competition. 

In a rematch of the 2023 final in Moose Jaw, Sask saw the US face Canada. After beating them 6-1 last year, Canada was determined to come out with a win on home ice. A goal 35 seconds in from Dominic Cozzolino set the pace for the Canadians and put the Americans on edge. Despite having played the majority of the game in Canada’s end, they came one goal short. Finishing 2-1, Canada secured their first gold medal in the tournament since 2017, and their first on home ice. 

The fans in Calgary were loud and proud of their team, which featured hometown hero Auren Halbert, the 21-year old defenseman.

A poster displayed at Winsport for Auren Halbert of Team Canada. Courtesy of Emma Dowsett.

Goaltender Adam Kingsmill made 24 saves on 25 shots in the gold medal game, earning him player of the game for the Canadians. Canada’s Tyler McGregor led the tournament in goals (9) and was a third in a three way tie for points (17) with Cozzolino and Liam Hickey, both of whom are Canadians. 

Some familiar faces from around the city showed their support during the tournament. Calgary Flames goaltender Dan Vladar and Wranglers forward Adam Klapka were both in attendance for their home country of Czechia’s first game. 

Lots of these teams and players will represent their countries at the next Winter Paralympic games.

Cover photo courtesy of Hockey Canada

Edited by Giana Robertaccio

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