Ottawa, March 7th, 2006 – Todd Nicholson, captain of Canada’s Paralympic Hockey Team, was named Flag bearer for the Canadian Paralympic Team today.
In a voice packed with emotion, Todd thanked his teammates and Mission staff for their confidence and trust in giving him the honour. “It’s time to carry Canadian Paralympic Sports to new a level. I know this team is ready to show the world what Canada can do and I’m here to say that, contrary to rumour, it’s not over in Torino by a long shot.”
Marg McGregor, Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2006 Games, delivered the news to the Paralympic hockey team who gathered for the event. “Todd’s perseverance, dedication and leadership are examples for all athletes to follow. Meeting challenge after challenge for the team over the past year, he has kept is sights locked firmly on representing his country with a gold medal; and his excellence is coupled with passion and humility.” She added, “Canada will be proud of you, Todd. Canada will be proud of the 33 athletes competing in Turin. Canada will shine once more before the world.”
In the months leading up to the Games, Todd has undergone multiple surgeries, yet he leads the team and is tireless proponent of the Paralympic Movement, receiving thousands of letters from school children who have heard him speak.
”Todd is the kind of player who leads by example,” said Henry Wohler, Canadian Paralympic Committee President. “He sets a standard for courage and dedication to which we can aspire. He’s also one heck of a hockey player!”
From Embrun, ON, Todd is a truly inspirational leader. Assistant Captain Jean Labonté said: “Selecting Todd is boost for the whole team, Hockey, Alpine, Nordic and Curling. He is the man, recognized by all!
The selection committee for the 2006 Flag Bearer was comprised of the Chef de Mission, two athletes, a coach and the Paralympic Team Manager. The Flag bearer selection process is based on a Canadian Paralympic Policy where each sport participating at the Games submit a list of candidates. The eligible athletes must meet the following criteria: be part of the Canadian Paralympic Team, must have two years of international experience, must exhibit a commitment to fair play, be respected as a role model by peers, maintain an exemplary standard of behavior, have made a contribution to their field of Paralympic sport, and have made a contribution to the Sport Community.
Todd is an extremely talented hockey player with has a keen sense of the game. He can play any position on the ice. He began his career in sports at the tender age of 4 and was introduced to Paralympic sports during his stay at the Royal Ottawa Rehabilitation Center in 1987. He has been competing since 1989 and joined the national team in 1991. Todd has earned two medals at the Paralympic Games and four more in World Championships during his career in Paralympic hockey. He now trains in Ottawa.
In 1987, Todd became a paraplegic after a car accident on the night of his graduation dance. His condition has not kept him from reaching his goals and today he ranks among the top six sledge hockey players in the world. Todd thanks his family and friends for his success in sports.
Todd is much admired and appreciated in his community, which has bestowed several award upon him and the city of West Carleton has held a Todd Nicholson Day! In his working life, Todd is a project manager for the Canadian Border Services Agency.
About the Paralympic Games:
The origin of the Paralympic Games dates back to 1948 when Sir Ludwig Guttman staged the International Wheelchair Games to coincide with the 1948 London Olympic Games. The event gradually grew encompassing other sports and other disability categories, and now the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games are the ultimate international competitions for world class athletes with a disability. They are linked to the Olympic celebrations every two years and athletes must meet strict qualifying standards in order to compete. Canada has participated in every Paralympic Games since 1968.
In 2006, the Games take place in the same venues as the Olympics in Torino, Italy from March 10th to 19th. This year, it is anticipated that there will be approximately 600 competitors from 40 countries taking part in the Paralympic Games.