U.S. Sled Hockey Team begins quest for gold

March 11, 2010, 2:26 p.m. (ET)

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Just two weeks after the conclusion of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is set to begin its quest for gold here at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Following Friday's (March 12) Opening Ceremony, Team USA will kick off its preliminary-round tournament play Saturday (March 13) against South Korea at 5 p.m. PST at the University of British Columbia's Thunderbird Arena.

The United States enters this year's sled hockey tournament as the top seed for the first time in Paralympic Winter Games history, having captured the 2009 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship last May. Team USA will face South Korea, the Czech Republic and Japan in round-robin play before advancing to either the medal or relegation round.

Team USA's roster features forward Joe Howard (Kingston, Mass.), a four-time member of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010) and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.), the 2009 U.S. Olympic Committee Paralympic SportsMan of the Year. For the full roster including bios, click here.

Fans will be able to watch Team USA's preliminary-round match-up against Japan, along with all of the tournament's medal-round games, online at ParalympicSport.tv. In addition, NBC Sports will air a one-hour recap of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday (March 13) from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. EST and a two-hour highlights program on April 10 from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. EDT.

Meanwhile, Universal Sports will broadcast a nightly two-hour show covering the previous day's Paralympic Winter Games action from March 15-23 starting at 7 p.m. EDT. Finally, Universal Sports will offer on-demand re-airs of its coverage along with full-length event "rewinds" at UniversalSports.com.

For links to live scoring, an exclusive U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team blog, video, photos, and features, visit USAHockey.com throughout the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

NOTES: The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team captured the bronze medal at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, and earned gold at the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah ... No team has won gold more than once in the four Paralympic Winter Games of which sled hockey has been a part (Sweden-1994; Norway-1998; United States-2002; Canada-2006) ... The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team was announced last December and is comprised of 15 of the 18 members of the 2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team has won the last three IPC-sanctioned tournaments leading up to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (2009 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship, 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, 2010 Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships) ... The 2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team posted a 9-3-1-3 overall record, including a pair of IPC tournaments and exhibition series' against Canada and Japan. For recaps from the 2009-10 season and player stats, click here ... For information on all of the United States' Paralympic athletes, visit USParalympics.org.

Team USA 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Schedule
March 13-20 - Vancouver, B.C.

Date    Opponent    Time (PT)
Sat., March 13    South Korea    5 p.m.
Sun., March 14    Czech Republic    5 p.m.
Tues., March 16    Japan    5 p.m.
Thurs., March 18    Semifinals    12 p.m./7 p.m.
Fri., March 19    Bronze-Medal Game    7 p.m.
Sat., March 20    Gold-Medal Game    2 p.m.