Declan Farmer competes in the preliminary round against South Korea at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 13, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
Declan Farmer is only 23 years old, but he’s already a seasoned sled hockey veteran and one of the leaders on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.
Farmer admits that he’s more of the lead-by-example type.
“I think a lot of guys lead in their own ways,” Farmer said. “You don’t have to wear a letter to be a leader. I’ve built close relationships with everyone on the team, having been here for so long. Just having those relationships is leadership in itself because you know guys well, they believe in you and you believe in them. Establishing that trust between teammates is big.”
Farmer certainly has that trust from his teammates. Farmer, who was born a bilateral amputee, has been playing sled hockey since he was 9, and he made his first U.S. National Sled Hockey Team when he was 14 years old.
“It’s weird that I’ve been doing this for a decade, but it has been part of my life for so long,” Farmer said. “I made the national team the summer before my freshman year of high school, so it’s really been part of who I am. It’s been the defining feature of my entire adolescence and adult life so far, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without being on the national team and the Paralympic teams.”
Most recently, Farmer helped the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team capture the gold medal in 2018. Farmer netted 17 points in five games. He also tied U.S. and Paralympic records for goals in a single Paralympic Winter Games with 11, including the tying and winning goals against Canada in the gold-medal game.
“I think there have been a lot of great sled hockey players who have come through Team USA,” Farmer said. “Just to be on similar rankings and lists with them, it’s a tremendous honor. I grew up admiring those guys, so it’s really cool.”
Farmer still vividly remembers the game-tying and gold medal-clinching goals.