Buffalo, New York, to host 2015 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championships
IPC Ice Sledge Hockey has announced that the 2015 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool will be held at the HARBORCENTER in Buffalo, New York, April 24-May 2.
Buffalo 2015 will mark the third time the championships will be held in the United States. The championships come a year after Team USA became the first in history to win back-to-back Paralympic gold medal in sled hockey at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Joining them at the HARBORCENTER will be Sochi 2014 runners-up Russia, defending world champions and Sochi 2014 bronze medallists Canada, Czech Republic, Norway, Italy, Germany and Japan.
"We are delighted that the World Championships A-Pool will be held in the USA after such a historic year for the team," IPC's Chief Executive Officer Xavier Gonzalez said. "Ice sledge hockey took the step into the popular consciousness during Sochi 2014, increasing popularity almost overnight and gaining millions of new fans and followers, particularly in America where it was broadcast live on NBC for the first time ever.
"We are hugely confident that American fans, and the media, will be enthralled by what is sure to be another thrilling competition."
The 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool will be the eighth edition of the competition and are being organised by USA Hockey.
Two members of Team USA hail from the Buffalo area - Lancaster native and two-time Paralympic champion Adam Page, as well as Buffalo native and Sochi 2014 team member Paul Schaus.
With Buffalo being located right on the US-Canada border, it is the perfect location to stage a world championships, drawing audiences from both countries, where ice hockey is prominent.
"The athletes and fans will be treated to a state-of-the-art facility in an area where hockey is an everyday passion," USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean.
At the last IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool in Goyang, South Korea, in 2013, Canada posted their own historic victory, beating the USA to win their third world title - the most ever for any ice sledge hockey team - finishing the tournament with an undefeated 5-0 record.
In the bronze-medal game, Russia toppled the Czech Republic, 3-0, to make the podium at their first World Championships A-Pool. The win proved to be an omen from the team, which went on to fight their way to the gold-medal game at Sochi 2014 in front of sell-out crowds, less than five years after bringing a national team together.
The 2015 event will be the first major stop for teams on the road to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
Earlier this month it was announced that the World Championships A-Pool had been moved to years one and three in the Paralympic cycle based on input from participating nations at the last IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Sport Forum.