author: john leoppky | editor in chief
And you thought the fun was over
The 2018 Olympics may be over, but this year also has the less heralded, though no less important, Paralympics. Three of Canada’s 55 athletes are competing in a winter sport when they also compete on the national team in a summer one as well. Quebec’s Cindy Ouellette will compete in cross-country skiing after competing for the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team since 2007.
2018 will mark her first winter games, but she has competed in three of the summer editions, with the team’s highest finish being fifth. Ouellette also regularly competes in cross-fit at a highly competitive level, spending time in California to train while attending the University of South California after competing collegiately at the University of Alabama.
Liam Hickey, originally from Newfoundland, is competing in his first winter games as well as a forward on the para ice hockey (formerly known as sledge hockey). Hickey competed on the national team for wheelchair basketball in 2015 and 2016 while pulling double duty with the hockey team. Canada’s most recent sledge hockey competition of note was a loss to the USA in the gold medal game of the 2017 World Sledge Hockey Championships. The Canadians will be looking to avenge that loss in PyeongChang. Hickey broke national team mainstay Patrick Anderson’s wheelchair basketball team record for youngest athlete named.
In a Hockey Canada press release Head Coach Ken Babey of Saskatoon said that much went into this Paralympic cycle.
“It has been a long season of training, regional camps and international competition, but it has brought us to today where we can move on to the next stage with the 17 players we have chosen to represent Canada,” said Babey (Saskatoon, Sask.). “It was not an easy decision; our players have pushed each other all year to put us in the best possible position to win a gold medal. We’re excited to get to PyeongChang, put on the Team Canada jersey, and represent our country with pride.”
Bowden, on the other hand, is not fresh off of the hardwood. 2007 marked the last time that Bowden suited up on the court, but Saskatchewan has one of the most known two-sport athletes in Paralympic history, Colette Bourgonje. She split her time between cross country skiing and the track. She recently had a new Saskatoon school named in her honour, but not before competing in ten Paralympic Games.
The Saskatchewan contingent to the Paralympics includes the aforementioned Babey, Brittany Hudak of Prince Albert in paraalpine skiing, Curtis Minard of Weyburn in Parasnowboard, and Marie Wright of Moose Jaw will compete as a curler. Also attending will be Wayne Kiel, a coach for the curling squad.
The Paralympics begin March 8 with CBC being the main broadcasting partner of the event.