CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada announced Monday that Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) will serve as captain of Canada’s National Sledge Hockey Team during the 2010-11 season. Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.) and Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) will serve as alternate captains when Team Canada wears its red jerseys, while Marc Dorion (Bourget, Ont.) and Raymond Grassi (Windsor, Ont.) will both wear an ‘A’ when the Canadians are in white.
All five sledge hockey veterans represented their country at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games held in Vancouver, B.C. in March, where Canada finished in fourth place. Also during the 2009-10 season, Westlake, Bowden, Dixon, Dorion and Grassi won two of four games in a series played against the United States in both Toronto, Ont. and Rochester, N.Y. last September and October, won silver with Team Canada at the 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge held in Charlottetown, P.E.I. last November and swept Korea in a three-game series held in Surrey, B.C. in January.
“I am truly honoured to be named captain of the National Sledge Hockey Team,” said Westlake. “On behalf of all my teammates, I want to thank the past captains and leaders for all they have done to grow this program. I look forward to the challenge of leading this team to a successful season, along with Brad, Adam, Marc and Ray.”
Westlake has been a member of Canada’s National Sledge Hockey Team since 2004 and served as an alternate captain during the 2009-10 season. Bowden has played for Canada since 1999 and was also an alternate captain last season. Dixon has played for the national team since 2006, Dorion since 2004 and Grassi since 2003.
The five players have won gold medals together at several events, including the 2009 Hockey Canada Cup, 2009 4 Nations Cup, 2008 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship, Japan Paralympic 2008 Ice Sledge Hockey International Match and 2007 World Sledge Hockey Challenge. Westlake, Bowden, Dorion and Grassi were also members of the Canadian roster that won the gold medal at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
“All five of these players are very strong leaders, both on and off the ice,” said National Sledge Hockey Team head coach Mike Mondin. “They set high standards for their teammates, and will be key players in helping us reach our goals this season.”
In total, 16 players were chosen for this year’s National Sledge Hockey Team following a selection camp held in Petawawa, Ont. in September. The team’s first test of the season comes later this month, when it takes on the United States in a three-game series from Oct. 14-16 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, Ont. Tickets will be on sale for $5 at the door before each game.
The National Sledge Hockey Team will travel south of the border for a second series against both the United States and Japan, from Nov. 10-14 at the ESL Sports Center in Rochester, N.Y.
The two series will help Canada prepare for the 2011 4 Nations Cup, which will be held in Japan in February, and the 2011 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, which will take place next April in a Canadian city that has yet to be determined.
Nine of the players selected for the 2010-11 National Sledge Hockey Team competed at the 2010 Paralympics, including Westlake and the four alternate captains. Two players, defencemen Steve Arsenault (Spruce Grove, Alta.) and Jordan Cullum (Burlington, Ont.), are making their return to the national team, while four players, forwards Anthony Gale (Brampton, Ont.), Scott Karrasch (Surrey, B.C.), Dominic Larocque (Quebec City, Que.) and Kevin Rempel (Dundas, Ont.), will make their Team Canada debuts in Toronto. Mondin will be joined on the bench by assistant coach Billy McGuigan (Charlottetown, P.E.I.).