When the Winter Paralympic Games were televised for the first time in 2014, audiences all over were introduced to the sport of sledge hockey (known in the United States primarily as sled hockey). People watched on the edge of their seats as these athletes checked as hard, skated as fast and scored just as much as their able-bodied counterparts.
Now, people throughout the world will have a chance to watch two of the best teams go at it this afternoon in a gold medal matchup between the United States and Canada as part of the World Sled Hockey Challenge in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
It will be an especially exciting game for our readers here in Florida, as natives Declan Farmer and Chris Douglas are participating in the tournament with Team USA. Farmer, 18, has been front and center for much of the tournament as the leading goal- and point-scorer (6 G, 9 P). Canada will certainly look to shut him down, but will also have to deal with the physicality of Farmer's linemate, Brody Roybal. Though Roybal is only 17 years old, he is a big body on Team USA and has been a thorn in the side of some of Team Canada's players. Not only is he physical, he provides plenty of offense too, having scored eight points throughout the tournament.
The goaltending will also be a factor in today's game; their previous matchup was decided by a shootout, and in a game in which Team USA controlled most of the play, Canadian goaltender Corbin Watson was incredible, stopping 26 of 28 shots and ultimately solidifying the 3-2 win in the shootout.
If you have never witnessed the sport of sled hockey, this is the perfect matchup to watch. It will be physical, but it will be fast. And it features some of the best sled hockey scorers and goaltenders in the world. What the final score will be is anyone's guess, but no matter how high or low the score, it will most likely be a close one.
Puck drop is at 4 p.m. and the game will be streamed live on www.usahockey.com.