It was very much expected, but now it’s official: Liam Hickey will compete for Canada at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games next month in South Korea.
On Sunday, the 19-year-old from St. John’s (he turns 20 March 25) was one of 17 players nominated to the team that is out to improve on Canada’s bronze-medal finish at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. And they will be looking to do so on an ice surface that has already seen them claim a championship.
Sixteen of the players named Sunday — including Hickey — were on the Canadian team that won gold medal at the 2017 IPC world para hockey championship in Gangneung, the South Korean city which is also home to the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic ice competitions.
While this will be Hickey’s first appearance in a Winter Games, he has competed in the Paralympics before as a member of the Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team at the 2016 Paralympic Summer Games in Rio de Janiero.
The team was selected after a training camp this month in southern Ontario, where they also split a pair of exhibition games against the United States, the defending Paralympic champion and Canada’s arch-rival.
Sunday’s announcements were termed “nominations” because they are subject to approval by the Canadian Paralympic Committee, which will officially name the entire Paralympic Team for Pyeongchang later this month.
Paralympic hockey begins March 9. The Canadians are competing in a group with Italy, Norway and Sweden, the latter being their first opponent.