CALGARY, Alta. –
The showdown is set for Saturday’s final at the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Bridgewater, N.S., with Team Canada meeting Team U.S.A. in the gold-medal game at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre at 5 p.m. AT.
And the Maritimes will have a chance to put their world-renowned hospitality on display once again following Hockey Canada’s announcement that Charlottetown, P.E.I., has been selected to host the December edition of the World Sledge Hockey Challenge.
“The World Sledge Hockey Challenge continues to grow in importance on the international sledge hockey schedule, due in part to the caliber of hockey it attracts, as well as the overall experience Canadian communities have provided to its participants,” said Dean McIntosh, senior director of events and properties for Hockey Canada. “The fan support and the teams’ community outreach activities with Bridgewater schools this week provide Islanders with a preview of what they can expect next December when the event comes to Charlottetown. With next season being a sledge world championship year, the tournament will take on a new meaning for the teams who will be using this as a tune-up in their quest for the world title.”
Charlottetown’s MacLauchlan Arena at the CARI Complex will host all preliminary-round and playoff action of the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge Dec. 4-10, 2016. The full event schedule, ticket details, and participating teams will be announced closer to the event.
It’s the third time Charlottetown has welcomed the World Sledge Hockey Challenge; the CARI Complex previously played host to the tournament in 2008 and 2009.
For Summerside, P.E.I., native and Canada’s National Sledge Team all-time leading scorer Billy Bridges, the selection of his home province as next season’s host is welcomed news. “To think that I might have the chance to play in front of my family and friends gives me the chills,” said Bridges, who leads the team in goal-scoring at this year’s World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Nova Scotia. “No matter where we get to wear the [Team Canada] jersey, it’s always a great honour to represent your country. No doubt, the fans in P.E.I. will be behind our team.”
In addition to boosting the awareness of sledge hockey within the host community, the World Sledge Hockey Challenge has demonstrated its positive economic impact in host-cities across Canada. In Feb. 2015, the event was staged in Leduc, Alta., and a report presented to city council last fall put the economic impact for the province at $746,004, with more than $500,000 in Leduc alone. The event also scored satisfaction rates of over 95 per cent in the areas of entertainment value and value for money.
“Charlottetown enjoys a strong relationship with Hockey Canada and it is a privilege to be welcoming the World Sledge Hockey Challenge and its top ParaSport athletes to our city in December,” said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. “Our award-winning sport tourism brand, SCORE, has once again risen to the occasion and Charlottetown looks forward to the high intensity action – and the strong economic impact – an international sport event of this caliber brings.”
In the tournament’s eight-year history, Canada has won five gold medals, two silver and one bronze. Canada beat Korea 4-1 in the bronze-medal game at the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Leduc, Alta.
Saturday’s bronze-medal match-up between Team Korea and Team Russia can be viewed online at HockeyCanada.ca/WSHC, while the gold-medal game is being broadcast on TSN and RDS, official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada. Please check your local listings for details.
For more information on Canada’s National Sledge Team and the 2016 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca and HockeyCanada.ca/WSHC, or follow along via social media at Facebook.com/HCSledge, Twitter.com/HC_Sledge, Facebook.com/WorldSledge and Twitter.com/HC_WSHC.
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