Growing up in Boston, a hotbed for hockey, Joseph Howard started playing the sport at four years old. Howard who eats, sleeps, and breathes hockey had a minor setback when he was hit by a train and as a result lost both of his legs at age 15.
“My biggest regret was the thought of never playing hockey again.” In 1996, he was introduced to sled hockey, “and I fell in love with the sport all over again,” said Joe.
In 1998, Howard made the U.S. National Team and competed at the Paralympic Games in Nagano, Japan where he set a Paralympic record scoring six goals in a single game.
Four years later, Team USA would not have qualified for the 2002 Paralympic Games had the U.S. not been the host country which gave the squad an automatic bid. As a wildcard with no pressure they steamrolled through opponents until the finals.
After a double-overtime shootout victory the Americans prevailed defeating defending champions Norway 4-3.
Howard’s hard fought first place finish was extra special. He fulfilled a promise he made to his mother, who was unable to attend due to her battle with brain cancer by winning the Gold. The previous day, following their victory over Estonia, he proposed to his girlfriend of five years on the center of the rink.
Howard was an integral part of the 2010 U.S. Paralympics Sled Hockey National Team as he scored the second goal in the gold medal winning game against Japan to secure their fate to be number one.
When he’s not playing hockey Howard spends time with his wife Carol and their two dogs, Leilani Kai and Breeze.
- 2010: Gold medal – Paralympic Games, Vancouver, Canada
- 2010: Gold medal - 2010 Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships
- 2009: Paralympic team of the year
- 2009: Gold medal- World Championships, Ostrava, Czech Republic
- 2008: Bronze medal - IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships, Marlborough, Mass.
- 2006: Bronze medal - Paralympic Winter Games, Torino, Italy
- 2004: Silver medal, Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships—Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
- 2002: Gold medal, Team MVP, Paralympic Games—Salt Lake City, Utah
- 2002: Inducted into Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame
- 2002: New England Wheelchair Athletic Association Athlete of the year
- 2002: Olympic Spirit Award recipient
- 2000: Captain of U.S. National Sled Hockey Team
- 1998: set Paralympic record of scoring six goals in one game