The Canadian national para ice hockey team has arrived in Ostrava less than two weeks before the World Championships. Due to strict measurements, the athletes had no opportunities to train in Canada at all. The entire team met on the ice after almost a one-year break.
The team had to undergo tests and isolation immediately after their arrival. The Canadian team will be the first to try the prepared ice rink in the Ostravar Arena as an endurance test. The team will use the ideal conditions as a preparatory, pre-tournament camp. Ken Babey, coach of the Canadian team, said, “We haven’t seen each other, as a team, since mid-March. We want to use the training opportunity on the ice in Ostrava to reunite as a whole and try out the various possibilities of the line-up.” Captain of the Canadian para ice hockey team, Tyler McGregor, added “We experienced a great championship, perfect conditions, and organization in Ostrava in 2019. We feel very comfortable, and therefore we wanted to spend more time here.”
Canadians have intensive training on the ice twice per day. “Of course, we are looking forward to the tournament itself the most and the matches against the USA. They are our age-long rivals. I am also excited to meet the Czech team on the ice again. Seeing the Czechs play in 2019 in front of a Czech crowd was great, and I hope that we will all play in front of the fans again, “added Tyler McGregor. It’s the Czech team that will be making its way to Ostrava next. The teams of Norway and South Korea will also arrive in Ostrava over the weekend.
Precisely due to the absence of matches in the last year, the teams have decided on a somewhat non-traditional pre-tournament preparation. They won’t undergo typical separate training. In the week before the world championships, the teams will play several friendly matches with each other. Canadian coach, Ken Babey, added: “We enjoy all international competitions and look forward to playing against other countries because everyone has their unique style.” Before the start of the tournament, the teams will have a photoshoot together, as is tradition. The Ostrava 2021 World Para Ice Hockey Championships will commence on June 19th.