CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that Charlottetown, P.E.I. has been named the host city of the 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, which will take place from November 17-21. It is the second consecutive year that the P.E.I. capital has hosted the event.
Canada is the two-time defending champion at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge, having won the 2007 edition in Kelowna, B.C. in addition to last year’s tournament in Charlottetown.
Canada will be joined by sledge hockey powers Japan, Norway and the United States. The teams will each play three round-robin games, with the top two teams playing for gold on the final day. All games will be played at the CARI Complex in Charlottetown.
The 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge will be the final major international event for Canada’s National Sledge Team before the first puck drops at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver in March.
“After winning gold last year, we are excited to return to Charlottetown once again as we look to defend,” said Jeff Snyder, head coach of Canada’s National Sledge Team. “The sledge hockey fans on Prince Edward Island are some of the best in the country, and we can’t wait to take the ice in front of them again.”
“Hockey PEI is proud to be the host branch again for the World Sledge Hockey Challenge,” said Gordie Whitlock, president of Hockey PEI. “Last year’s event was a tremendous success and we know that local hockey fans will be eager to see sledge hockey at its best once again. This is an exciting opportunity to host the best sledge hockey players in the world as they make their way towards Vancouver and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.”
“We are honoured to have been selected to host the World Sledge Hockey Challenge for a second year and look forward to welcoming these incredible athletes and ambassadors of sport back to Charlottetown," said Mayor Clifford Lee. "Our city has worked hard to enhance our event hosting abilities, which include state-of-the-art facilities and strong partnerships, in order to provide the best platform for athletes to perform on and showcase their sport to our community and to the world.”
“The Province of Prince Edward Island is pleased to offer our support to help make this event the best it can be,” said Carolyn Bertram, minister of communities, cultural affairs and labour. “We look forward to welcoming the world’s top sledge hockey teams, athletes and fans to our province this November. I want to wish the organizers all the best as they get ready for this exciting event.”
Canada recently selected its 18-player roster for the 2009-10 season following a selection camp in Milton, Ont. The 18 players will participate in a number of international events, including a two-game series against the United States at Lakeshore Lions Arena in Toronto, September 11-12. Only 15 players will make Canada’s final roster for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, which will be announced early in 2010.