Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Team Canada swept their four-game series against South Korea at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (LCLC) in Bridgewater Nov. 13-19.
The two teams held practices and four games as they prepare for the Paralympic Winter Games that will be held next March in Beijing.
The Canadians showed their strength and experience throughout the course of the week. In game one, Nov. 14, they won 7-0, game two was a 6-1 win Nov. 16, game three ended up being another 7-0 win, and on Nov. 19 Team Canada closed things off with an 11-0 victory.
The games and the training camp also work as preparations for the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup that is scheduled to be held in Bridgewater in 2022, an event that was scheduled for 2020 and 2021, but was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Hosts of the training camp were the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) and the LCLC.
MODL Mayor Carolyn Bolivar-Getson was at the arena for the games, organized volunteers and sold 50-50 tickets. She commented the "event was wonderful. It's great to have the para Olympic hockey team back here in Lunenburg County and we look forward to having them back next year."
In 2016, the LCLC hosted the World Sledge Hockey Challenge with teams from Canada, the United States, Russia and South Korea.
The LCLC also hosted the national women's para hockey team in 2019.
Bill Schurman, MODL recreation director, was also kept busy during the week.
"The feedback we are getting from people that have been here being inspired. They are inspired by what the athletes can do. The commitment they have and the friendliness and professionalism of both teams," he said, adding there was some juggling to do because of COVID-19, but they had "excellent cooperation from the chief public health office and Events Nova Scotia."
A visit to one of the local schools had to be cancelled because of COVID-19 precautions and the Nov. 16th game was scheduled to be full of spectators from schools in the area, however, precautions prevented some schools from attending.
He said the owners of the properties where the teams stayed "bent over backwards to have them feel at home," adding that this is a great segue moving into next December. "The countdown is on."
Dave Waters, coach and president of the South Shore Para Hockey Lumberjacks, hopes that hosting these two teams will not only help inspire the current members of the team but also help inspire more players to try the sport.
Several of the Team Canada players came back on the ice to practise with the local team following their Nov. 14 victory.
Waters noted that anyone of any age, any gender, any ability can come and try it out and at any of the team's practices. The practices are held each Sunday afternoon.