Hockey Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee has announced its Paralympic sledge hockey roster for the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, and B.C. athlete James Gemmell has made the team.
Gemmell, 37, was also on the Canadian Paralympic sledge hockey team in 2014, and holds a bronze medal from the Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. He is the only national sledge hockey team member from British Columbia, and calls Quesnel home.
The team roster was finalized Sunday (Feb. 11) in Toronto.
Gemmell, a defenseman, has been playing on the national sledge hockey team since September 2017, when he was chosen for the 2017/18 team after a selection camp in Calgary.
Seventeen players were then selected from the national team to represent Canada in South Korea.
“Everyone wants one of those spots. But the competition among ourselves makes the team better in the long run,” Gemmell told Black Press in September.
The team held its final training camp last week in Ontario.
At the press conference in Toronto, head coach Ken Babey said: “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.” The Team Canada roster includes two goaltenders, six defencemen and nine forwards. Gemmell is the only national sledge hockey team member from British Columbia.
Canada’s Paralympic Hockey Team also features 10 players (Steve Arsenault, Brad Bowden, Billy Bridges, Ben Delaney, Adam Dixon, Quesnel’s James Gemmell, Dominic Larocque, Tyler McGregor, Corbin Watson and Greg Westlake) who brought home the bronze medal at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; three players (Bowden, Bridges and Westlake) who captured Canada’s first Paralympic gold medal at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy; and 16 players (Rob Armstrong, Arsenault, Bowden, Bridges, Dominic Cozzolino, Delaney, Dixon, Gemmell, Tyrone Henry, Liam Hickey, Larocque, McGregor, Bryan Sholomicki, Corbyn Smith, Watson and Westlake) who won the gold medal at the 2017 IPC World Para Hockey Championship in Gangneung, South Korea.
When he’s not competing on the national stage, Gemmell owns and operates K9 Boarding Kennels in Quesnel. He also helps run a local sledge hockey fun league.
The 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games take place March 9-18.
Sledge hockey opens on Mar. 9, with Canada competing in Group A with Italy, Norway and Sweden.