Babey, Canada take silver in Para hockey
It’s another Paralympic silver medal for Saskatoon head coach Ken Babey and the Canadian Para hockey team after they fell to the United States 5-0 in the gold medal game on Day 9 of the Winter Games in Beijing.
A teeing penalty by the United States eight minutes and 10 seconds into the first period should’ve helped Canada to put points on the board, but instead the American scored a pair of back-to-back goals at 9:08 and 9:33 to go up 2-0.
The Americans doubled up in the second period with goals at 2:39 and 7:51 to make the score 4-0 and despite three powerplays in the final five minutes of the period, the Canadians couldn’t get points on the board.
American captain Declan Farmer scored his third goal of the game at 5:57 into the third period to give the United States a commanding 5-0 lead and the Canadians were unable to recover.
This is the second straight silver medal for Babey and the Canadian squad, after losing to the Americans 2-1 in overtime in 2018 PyeongChang.
The full game summary is available at hockeycanada.ca.
Hudak, McKeever team up for sixth in relay
Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak wrapped up her third Paralympic Games with a sixth-place finish, along with partner Brian McKeever, in the open 4×2.5-kilometre cross country relay on Day 9.
The duo finished with a combined time of 30 minutes and 24.7 seconds, over two minutes behind the Ukrainian team that captured gold.
Hudak claimed two bronze medals earlier in the competition in individual events, while McKeever won three gold in his final Paralympic Games.
Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 9 recap on Paralympic.ca…Para alpine skier Mollie Jepsen, who earned one gold and one silver at the Games, was named Team Canada’s flag bearer for the closing ceremonies…The Canadian 4×2.5-km mixed cross country relay team claimed bronze…Canada ends the Paralympics in Beijing with 25 medals (eight gold, six silver, 11 bronze).
Hudak finishes seventh
In her last individual event of the Beijing Winter Paralympics, Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak finished seventh in the women’s standing 10-kilometre Para Nordic cross country race on Day 8 of the Games.
Hudak completed the distance in a time of 43 minutes and 16.3 seconds, just under two minutes behind Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova, who claimed the gold.
Fellow Canadians Natalie Hudak and Emily Young finished second and 11th, respectively.
The event was Hudak’s fifth overall at the Games and she’s claimed two bronze medals so far. She’ll get one more shot at the podium when she teams up with Brian McKeever in the open 4 x 2.5-km cross country relay on Day 9.
The relay is scheduled to start Saturday at 10:00 p.m. (SK time).
Upcoming Saskatchewan competition
As head coach, Saskatoon’s Ken Babey will lead the Canadian Para hockey team into the gold medal game against defending champions, the United States on Day 9 of the Paralympics.
Puck drop is scheduled for Saturday at 10:05 p.m.
Paralympic notes: Read the full Day 8 recap on Paralympic.ca…Brian McKeever captured his 16th career gold medal and his third of the 2022 Paralympics in the men’s visually impaired middle distance cross country race…Canada’s medal count is now 23 (eight gold, five silver, 10 bronze).
Hudak wins second bronze
Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak won her second of two medals at the Beijing Winter Games in the women’s standing 12.5-kilometre biathlon race.
Hudak posted a time of 49 minutes and one second to capture the bronze medal, behind Liudmyla Liashenko of Ukraine who took gold and Zhiqing Zhao of China who took silver.
“It’s definitely a shooters’ race with one minute added on to your time for every miss, so I would have liked to shoot clean but I was very happy with my skiing today. I had such fast skis out there, so kudos to my wax techs. I’m just happy with a really great race,” she told CBC Sports.
Canada’s Emily Young placed sixth in the event.
Hudak’s career Paralympic medal count now sits at three. She was third in her 15-km cross country race earlier in Bejing and she also won the bronze medal in the 12.5-km biathlon at the 2018 Games.
She’ll have a chance to add to her medal total when she competes in her fifth event of the 2022 Games, the women’s standing 10-km cross country event on Day 8. The race is scheduled to being on Saturday at 9:20 p.m. (SK time).
Men’s Para hockey reaches for gold
In their second match up of the Winter Games, the Canadian men’s Para hockey team, led by Saskatoon head coach Ken Babey, breezed by South Korea 11-0 in the semifinals on Day 7 to advance to the gold medal game at the Beijing Paralympics.
Billy Bridges posted a hat trick, while captain Tyler McGregor put four goals past South Korea on his birthday.
The Canadians will now face defending Paralympic champions, the United States in the final on Day 8. The American’s shutout Canada 5-0 when the two teams met during round robin play.
Canada will look to avenge that loss and capture their first gold medal since the 2006 Winter Games in Turin when the puck drops at 10:05 p.m. on March 12 (SK time).
DeJong misses the podium
Competing in her final event of the Paralympics, Biggar’s Lisa DeJong placed eight in the women’s banked slalom on Day 7.
Her best time of 1:20.19 was not enough to reach the podium.
DeJong, who made her Paralympic debut in Beijing, won’t be leaving empty handed however, as she captured silver in the women’s snowboard cross event —Canada’s first-ever in the discipline— earlier in the Games.
Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 7 recap on Paralympic.ca…Mollie Jepsen won silver in the women’s standing giant slalom…Mark Arendz captured silver in the men’s standing 12.5-kilometre biathlon…Canada’s wheelchair curling team won bronze against Slovakia…Tyler Turner won his second medal of the Games, a bronze, in Para snowboard banked slalom…Canada’s medal count is now its at 21 (seven gold, four silver, 10 bronze).
Men’s Para hockey to face South Korea in semifinals
Team Canada is scheduled to face South Korea for the second time in four days, as the two teams meet in the semifinals.
In their first matchup, the Canadians, led by head coach Ken Babey of Saskatoon, blanked South Korea 6-0. They’ll look to dominate again when the puck drops Thursday, March 10 at 10:05 p.m. (SK time).
If they win, the Canadians will play for gold, a loss and they play for bronze.
Upcoming Saskatchewan competition
Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak will compete in her fourth event of the Paralympics on Day 7, as she races in the women’s standing 12.5-kilometre biathlon. Hudak captured bronze in the event at the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang. The race is scheduled to start Thursday at 10:20 p.m. (SK time).
Biggar’s Lisa DeJong will look for her second medal of the Games as she gets back on the slopes in the Para snowboard banked slalom event scheduled to start at Thursday at 9:00 p.m. (SK time).
Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 6 recap on Paralympic.ca… Canada’s wheelchair curling team clinched a semifinal berth by defeating Norway 7-6…Canada’s medal count sits at 16 (seven gold, two silver, seven bronze).
A look ahead for Hudak and DeJong
Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak looks to compete in her fourth event of the Games on Day 7. Hudak is set to race in the women’s biathlon 12.5-kilometre on March 10 at 10:20 p.m. (SK time). An event in which she placed third at the 2018 Paralympic Games.
Also on Day 7, Biggar’s Lisa DeJong will hit the slopes again in search of her second Games medal as she competes in the banked slalom event scheduled for March 10 at 9:00 p.m. (SK time).
Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 5 recap on Paralympic.ca… Brian McKeever won his 15th career gold medal in the men’s visually impaired one-kilometre cross country sprint…Natalie Wilkie adds her second gold of the Games in the women’s standing Para cross country sprint event…Canada’s medal count is now 16 (seven gold, two silver, seven bronze).
Hudak races to sixth-place finish
Just one day after her bronze medal finish in the women’s standing 15-kilometre cross country event, Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak finished sixth in the women’s standing biathlon 10-kilometre course.
She completed the race with a time of 37 minutes and 43.1 seconds, one minute behind Ukraine’s Iryna Bui who captured gold.
Fellow Canadian Emily Young finished eighth.
Men’s Para hockey recover
Under the helm of head coach Ken Babey of Saskatoon, the men’s Para hockey team bounced back from being shut out by the United States, to blank South Korea 6-0 on Day 4.
Canada’s James Dunn posted a hat-trick, with teammates Liam Hickey, Billy Bridges and captain Tyler McGregor also putting the puck past the posts to lead the team to victory over South Korea.
This puts Canada in second place behind the United States in group A with both teams clinching a semifinal spot. The date and opponent Canada will face in the semifinals is still to be determined.
Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 4 recap on Paralympic.ca… Mark Arendz wins gold in Para biathlon, his 10th career Games medal… Canada’s medal count is now 13 (five gold, two silver, six bronze).
DeJong captures first-ever medal in Para snowboard
Biggar’s Lisa DeJong made history in her Paralympic debut taking silver in the women’s Para snowboard cross SB-LL2 final and earning Canada it’s first-ever Para snowboard medal at the Games.
After a solid qualifying run on Day 2, DeJong executed a strong, clean run ahead of Brenna Huckaby of the United States and Lisa Bunschoten of the Netherlands, who both went down. Huckaby managed to finish the race and capture bronze despite her fall.
“I feel absolutely amazing. It was unexpected,” the 32-year-old said to CBC Sports following her podium finish. “Just to make it in the big final, I felt like I already did what I came here to do. To come in second is amazing.”
Hudak claims second career Paralympic bronze
Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak is Paralympic medallist once again with a bronze medal finish in the women’s standing 15-kilometre cross country event with a time of 49 minutes and 27.8 seconds.
This is Hudak’s second podium finish in her third Paralympics. She took home bronze in the 12.5-km biathlon in 2018.
Teammate Natalie Wilkie topped the podium with a gold medal time of 48:04.8. Sydney Peterson of the United States was a close second with a time of 49:00.2. Fellow Canadian Emily Young finished fifth with a time of 52:06.7.
Hudak will compete in her third event of the Games on Day 4 in the biathlon 10-km event. Competition is scheduled to start on March 7 at 10:00 p.m. (SK time)
Upcoming Saskatchewan Competition
Saskatoon head coach Ken Babey and the Canadian men’s Para hockey team will take on South Korea in round robin action on Day 4. The puck is scheduled to drop March 7 at 11:05 p.m. (SK time)
Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 3 recap on Paralympic.ca… Tyler Turner won gold in the men’s Para snowboard cross event…Alana Ramsay won her second bronze in the women’s standing super combined event… Canada’s medal count is now 12 (four gold, two silver, six bronze).
DeJong into cross finals
Biggar’s Lisa DeJong made her Paralympic debut on Day 2 of the Winter Games in Beijing as she took to the course for the women’s Para snowboard cross qualification event.
Competing in the LL2 class, DeJong finished the qualified for the finals with the fourth-fastest time of one minute and 12.22 seconds.
“I’m super happy, I was able to keep it consistent and get through the course clean,” said DeJong to the Canadian Paralympic Committee following her event. “I learnt a few new things today, cleaned up my jumps a little bit, so overall I’m really happy with how today went. I was able to keep it low key, I didn’t let the pressure get to me too much, and pretended it was just a training day.”
Fellow Canadian Sanderine Hamel also qualified for the final in eighth place with a time of 1:17.69.
The finals will take place on Day 3 of the Games, starting Sunday, March 6 at 9:30 p.m. (SK time).
Upcoming Saskatchewan Competition
Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak will be competing in her second event of the Games on Day 3 as she races in the women’s standing 15-kilometre cross country event. The race is slated to start on Sunday, March 6 at 10:15 p.m. (SK time).
Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 2 recap on Paralympic.ca…Alana Ramsay won bronze in the Para alpine skiing women’s standing Super-G event…Collin Cameron captured bronze in the Para Nordic skiing men’s sitting long distance cross country race…Alexis Guimond claimed bronze in the Para alpine skiing men’s standing Super-G event…Canada’s medal count is now six (one gold, one silver, four bronze).
Hudak finishes eighth in first Games competition
Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak opened the Beijing Winter Paralympics with an eighth-place finish in the women’s sprint standing biathlon on Day 1 of competition.
Hudak completed the 6-kilometre distance in a time of 20 minutes and 32.4 seconds, just over 49 seconds behind China’s Guo Yijie who took the gold medal.
Fellow Canadians Emily Young and Natalie Wilkie finished the race in seventh and 15th, respectively.
Hudak will have a couple days to rest and recover before she competes in the women’s 15-km cross-country event on Day 3.
Canada blanked by United States in Paralympic opener
Led by Saskatoon head coach Ken Babey, the Canadian Para hockey team was shut out 5-0 by defending Paralympic champions the United States on Day 1 of the Winter Games in Beijing.
The United States was dominant offensively, outshooting Canada 26-9 throughout the game.
Josh Pauls scored first for the Americans, netting a goal five minutes and 44 seconds into the game on a powerplay. His teammate Brody Roybal followed that up with a goal of his own at 14:48 to put the United States up 2-0 at the end of the first period.
In the second period, the United States doubled up its lead with a pair of goals from Malik Jones and Josh Misiewicz, to increase the score to 4-0 with one period left to play.
Canada switched goaltenders entering the third period, with Adam Kingsmill coming in to replace starter Dominic Larocque.
Despite the change, the Americans were able to add to their total as Declan Farmer scored at 11:36 making it 5-0.
The Canadians will face Korea in their final round robin game on Day 4. The team was originally meant to play three round robin games, but the schedule was changed following International Paralympic Committee’s decision to ban the Russian Paralympic Committee from competition.
Upcoming Saskatchewan competition
Para snowboarder Lisa DeJong of Biggar will make her Paralympic debut on Day 2 of the Games, competing in the snowboard cross qualifications beginning Saturday at 9 p.m. (SK time).
Paralympic Notes: Read the full Day 1 recap on Paralympic.ca…Canada earned a medal of every colour on Day 1 of the Games…Mollie Jepsen won gold in women’s standing downhill…Mac Marcoux and guide Tristan Rodgers won silver in men’s visually impaired downhill…Mark Arendz claimed bronze in men’s standing 6-kilometre biathlon…Canada’s medal count is three (One gold, one silver, one bronze).
Written by: Matt Johnson for Sask Sport
Photo credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee
When men’s Para ice hockey gets underway on Friday night at the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing, there will be a Saskatoon coach holding some of the cards for Canada.
Saskatoon’s Ken Babey is the head coach of Team Canada’s Para ice hockey team and is in charge of leading the red and white to their first Paralympic gold medal since 2006.
With the ongoing pandemic, Babey describes the last year as a challenge to both run camps, as well as events. But after a month-long training camp held at WinSport in Calgary in preparation for the Games, Team Canada is in Beijing and is battle ready.
“It’s really exciting,” said Babey.
The Canadians were able to compete in the 2021 World Para Ice Hockey Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic this summer where they won silver after a loss to the United States in the gold medal game — a defeat they also suffered in the gold medal game at the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang.
Team Canada will be hoping a rematch for gold is in store in Beijing where Babey and company will have the opportunity to rewrite the narrative against the rival Americans.
“What I remember in 2018, when you get to the gold medal game, there’s an intense rivalry, but there’s a tremendous amount of pressure. I felt it. I’m sure the players felt it,” said Babey. “They all talk about how much pressure they felt. It’s a different event — there is no event like it. It’s a world event and you’re playing against the best in the world.”
Heading into Beijing, Babey comprised a new look roster. While mainstays like Greg Westlake, Billy Bridges and Adam Dixon remain, seven of the 17 players will be making their Paralympic debuts.
“We’re a faster team than we’ve ever been. We’re a younger team and we’ve got some good, skilled players. We’ve got a lot to show here,” said Babey.
Babey took over the Para hockey program after the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, where Canada finished with bronze. He was the man tasked for the job by Hockey Canada to help get the program back to its winning ways.
“I wasn’t sure I even wanted to do it. I agreed to go out to the first selection camp after Sochi and I didn’t know what the heck I was getting into, but I was blown away with the sport. They asked me if I wanted to be the head coach and I thought ‘I think I’ll try this.’ It’s something new,” said Babey.
“I love what these guys can do on their sledge — it’s amazing. The skills that they show, the speed of their game and the shots they take and the handling of the puck.”
The job has presented Babey with the opportunity to represent Saskatchewan on the world stage.
“I’m very proud to represent Saskatchewan. It is my home province and without my time in Saskatoon and going to the University of Saskatchewan and playing all kinds of sports as a young man, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Babey.
“Saskatchewan is where my roots are. I’m still a lover of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and everything about Saskatchewan and this is just another part of the journey.”
It was in Saskatchewan where Babey was first introduced to coaching. He coached midget AAA in the city for the Saskatoon Blues while he was a student at the University of Saskatchewan and he went on to serve as the head coach for 27 seasons at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, finishing his tenure with the Trojans in 2014 as the winningest coach in Canadian post-secondary hockey history. His retirement helped pave the way for an opportunity to lead his country to gold.
And from the Bridge City to Beijing, that opportunity to represent Canada at the Paralympics for the second time is an accomplishment not lost on him.
“When you’re in these training camps, running practices and meeting with coaches and players, you kind of get caught in it. But I find time to sit back and think ‘Wow. I’m going to my second Paralympics, I’m pretty lucky,’” said Babey.
“It is quite an honour and surreal at times.”
With Babey behind the bench, Team Canada officially begins their quest for gold at the Games on March 4, with a round-robin clash against the United States, with puck drop scheduled for 11:05 p.m. SK time.