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Para Ice Hockey Championship to be held in Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw, Sask. -

The 2023 World Para Ice Hockey Championships are coming to Moose Jaw, marking the first time a para hockey championship will be played in Canada since 2010.

“It was a few months ago that the recommendation came to us from administration. We had a meeting obviously, discussed it, debated it, voted on it, and decided this was something that we wanted to allow the Event Centre to go for,” said Heather Eby, Moose Jaw councillor.

“We were thrilled,” exclaimed Team Canada captain, Tyler McGregor, on the moment the team found out Moose Jaw won the bid to host the championships. “This has been a long time coming. We’ve obviously never hosted a world championships or an event of this magnitude. It’s been so long since our family and friends and people in Canada have been able to watch our sport live.”

Moose Jaw will host the championship event from May 28 to June 4 at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.

“We can’t wait to bring the world here to show the world what Saskatchewan is all about. To see how amazing the events they put on are and hopefully have the opportunity to win a gold medal,” he added.

McGregor is a three time Paralympic medalist and six time World Para medalist.

“There’s nothing like comparable to having the opportunity to do that [win gold] on home ice. It’s something we certainly don’t get a lot. So we are over the moon excited,” said McGregor.

The last time Canada won gold was at the 2017 World Para Hockey Championships. The team took home silver at the last two events in 2019, and 2022.

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Group A will consist of Team Canada, Czechia, Korea, and the United States, with the top two teams heading to the semifinals.

China, Germany, Italy, and Norway will play in Group B.

While the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games was the last time a para hockey event was held in Canada, this will be the first world championship for Canada’s Para Hockey Team as the host team.

“Just the fans! I don’t know if there’s any more passionate hockey fans in Canada. So I’m really excited about that, the Event Centre here is beautiful. It’s incredible that it’s going to be fully accessible,” McGregor explained, on what he is most excited for.

“The passionate fans, you know, hopefully they can have some raucous crowds and make it difficult on our opponents.”

“It’s huge and because our buildings now getting the opportunity to be retrofitted for the sport, this won’t be the last time [we can host an event like this],” Eby said.

“Our organization is committed to continuing to grow the para game, and hosting this prestigious event in Canada for the first time is a significant milestone,” said Ryan Robins, director of events and properties with Hockey Canada.

After the announcement on Monday, McGregor took the ice at the Event Centre with members of the Moose Jaw Warriors and players from Hockey Saskatchewan’s Para teams.

Some of the Warriors had the opportunity to try the sport for the first time.

“It wasn’t easy, I can tell you that. Just getting up and down the ice is hard enough but then trying to learn how to turn or even stop is another thing. Tyler’s here and he was nice enough to give us a couple of tips,” laughed Gord Burnett, Warriors Assistant Coach.

As for what the championships will bring to the city, Burnett is seeing only positives.

“I think it’ll mean a lot economically, you’ll bring some people into town. But I think the community as a whole supports hockey and is just a very proud hockey community," he said.

“Tyler said all of the players from the Canadian team, all of their families and friends are coming. So that alone right there boosts the economic activity for the week,” Eby said.

Tickets for the event will go on sale to the public on March 29 here. Top Stories

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