St. John's teen scores winning goal as Canada takes world para hockey gold

Liam Hickey scores 16 points in seven games at Korean tourney


Published on April 20, 2017

Members of Team Canada's para hockey team, including Liam Hickey (23) of St. John's, celebrate a goal on their way to defeating the United States 4-1 in the gold-nedal game at the world para hockey championship in Gangenung, South Korea on Thursday.

©The Canadian Press/International Paralympic Committee/Seokyong Lee

Liam Hickey of St. John’s scored what would prove to be the winning goal as Canada defeated the United States 4-1 Thursday to capture a gold medal at the world para hockey championship in Gangenung, Korea.

Hickey, 19, finished his first world championship with seven goals and nine assists in seven games. His 16 points tied him for third on the Canadian team.

Thursday’s win came after the Canadians lost 2-1 to their archrivals in the round robin.

“This is an outstanding group of young men, and I'm very proud of our team,” said head coach Ken Babey. “We played smart, fast and unselfish — the Canadian way. We took hits to make plays and stuck to the game plan.”

Formerly known as sledge hockey, the sport has recently been renamed para ice hockey.

Dominic Larocque of Quebec City made 12 saves for the win.

“This is an incredible experience,” said Larocque. “To be able to go for gold in the final against the United States has been my dream for the last three years. And to have a chance to bring back gold as a world champion for the second time makes me so proud.”

While Canada has won four gold medals at the biennial tournament, this is their first since 2013. The team also settled for bronze at the 2014 Paralympics.

“When I think about this team and what it represents, it's hard work,” said captain Greg Westlake, who has been a part of all four gold-winning teams. “We all got challenged after a third-place finish in Sochi, and then disappointing game after disappointing game — tonight was the final reward.”

He said he'll always remember how the team came together this year.

“When I think about this team 10, 20 years down the road, I'll remember just how hard we worked in the build-up to tonight, and how we went out and executed,” he said. “It's really special and every single guy on the team should be really proud of everything they've done.”

The championship was also a test event for the 2018 Paralympics to be held in Korea, with Gangenung the site for para hockey.

 

With files from The Telegram