Canada takes the stage at opening ceremony
Led by flag bearers Para hockey player Greg Westlake and wheelchair curler Ina Forrest the Canadian contingent of Paralympians marched in the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Winter Paralympics.
For a full recap of the opening ceremony, visit cbc.ca.
Paralympic Notes: Day 1 of competition will see Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak compete in the biathlon 6-kilometre event, scheduled to begin March 4 at 10:15 p.m. (SK time). Saskatoon’s Ken Babey will be behind the bench leading the Para hockey team in the preliminary round robin game against the United States. Puck drop is scheduled for March 4 at 11:05 p.m. (SK time).
The Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing begin March 4 and Para ice hockey player Greg Westlake and wheelchair curler Ina Forrest will lead the Canadian team during the Opening Ceremonies as flag bearers.
This will be the fourth consecutive Games for Forrest, who has two Paralympic gold medals and one bronze to her name from previous competitions.
Meanwhile, this will be the fifth Paralympics for Westlake. So far in his career, he’s captured a gold, silver and a bronze medal in previous Games.
The Opening Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 5:30 a.m. (SK time) on Friday. The ceremonies and all other events from the Winter Games can be streamed on CBC Sports.
Read the full story the flag bearers at cbc.ca.
A small but decorated group of Saskatchewan individuals will represent the province at the Paralympic Games, running March 4-13 in Beijing.
The Saskatchewan Olympic contingent for the Beijing Games features two athletes in three-time Paralympic Para Nordic skier Brittany Hudak, and decorated World Cup newcomer in Para snowboarding Lisa DeJong, as well as multi-Paralympic coaches from Saskatoon Ken Babey in Para hockey and Kaspar Wirz in Para Nordic skiing.
“Congratulations to the athletes and coaches who will be representing our province at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Laura Ross said. “Thank you for being strong role models for Saskatchewan. Know that we are proud of you and will be cheering you on. Best of luck.”
Prince Albert’s Hudak will compete in multiple standing cross-country and biathlon events in Beijing. She made her Paralympic debut in Sochi in 2014 competing in the 15, one and five-kilometre standing cross country events, finishing 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively. Four years later in PyeongChang, she captured the bronze medal in the 12.5-km standing biathlon and competed in four other Para Nordic disciplines at the Games.
Para snowboard newcomer Lisa DeJong has turned heads since being named to the Canadian NextGen team in 2020. Competing in World Cup events beginning in late 2021, Biggar’s DeJong has won two silver medals and a gold in the LL2 events. It will be her Paralympic debut in Beijing as she aims for the podium in the banked slalom and snowboard cross events.
On the coaching front, Babey returns to the helm of the Canadian men’s Para hockey team. The group will look to upgrade a silver medal finish from PyeongChang in 2018. Wirz will coach in his seventh Paralympic Games in the Para Nordic disciplines – five with Canada, one with the Republic of Korea and 2022 with China.
“The four individuals who will represent the province at the Paralympic Games are strong ambassadors for sport,” said Lance Dudar, Sask Sport Chair. “As an amateur sport community, we can be proud of everything they have accomplished on their journeys to the Games. I would like to congratulate them on their success and determination and thank all those who played a role in helping them achieve their dreams.”
Click on cheeronsask.ca for everything you need to know about the Olympics and Paralympics. The website, a partnership between Sask Sport, Sask Lotteries and the Canadian Sport Centre Saskatchewan, documents the athletes, coaches, officials and staff from Saskatchewan on their journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, features a comprehensive schedule specific to the Saskatchewan athletes that includes date, times, viewing options and results and will house daily recaps with results and information specific to the Saskatchewan contingent. It will also feature an aggregate of news from the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and National Sport Organizations.
Follow along on social media on @SaskSport, @SaskLotteries and @CSCSaskatchewan and use the hashtag #SaskProud for further updates and information from cheeronsask.ca.
Lisa DeJong – Para snowboard, Biggar
Brittany Hudak – Para Nordic, Prince Albert
Ken Babey – Para hockey, Saskatoon
Kaspar Wirz – Para Nordic, Saskatoon, Team China
Coakwell claims bronze in third Olympics
The third time was the charm for bobsleigh brakeman Ben Coakwell as he and his four-man sled, piloted by Justin Kripps, won bronze at the Winter Games in Beijing — the third career Olympics Moose Jaw’s career.
The team qualified for Day 16’s final two runs in third place and maintained that position through the final heats.
They clocked a time of 58.44 seconds in the third run and 59.27 in the last run for an overall time of 3:55.09.
Germany’s Francesco Friedrich (3:54.30) and Johannes Lochner (3:54.67) claimed gold and silver, respectively. The Canadian sled piloted by Christopher Spring finished ninth with a time of 3:56.99.
Former Olympic bronze medallist Lyndon Rush of Humboldt was a coach with Canada’s bobsleigh team at the Games.
Weidemann selected as Closing Ceremonies flag bearer
Long track speed skater Isabelle Weidemann, who captured a medal of every colour at the Beijing Olympics, will led Team Canada in the Closing Ceremonies.
Weidemann won bronze in the women’s 3,000-metre event on Day 1 of the Games, then followed that up with a silver on Day 7 in the 5,000-m and capped off her Olympic experience with a gold in the women’s team pursuit on Day 11.
Olympic notes: Read the full Day 16 recap on Olympic.ca…Canada ended the Beijing Winter Olympics in fourth place in the medal rankings, earning at total of 26 medals (four gold, eight silver and 14 bronze).
Coakwell third after two runs
Moose Jaw’s Ben Coakwell is poised for a spot on the podium after he and his four-man bobsleigh team finished the first two heats in third place.
Piloted by Justin Kripps, the sled completed the first run in 58.38 seconds and the second run in 59 seconds flat, for a total time of 1:57.38.
Two German sleds, one piloted by Francesco Friedrich (1:57.00) and the other by Johannes Lochner (1:57.03) are the only two teams ahead of the Coakwell’s sled.
The other two Canadian teams, Christopher Spring (1:58.43) and Taylor Austin (1:59.48) sit 11th and 21st, respectively.
Heat 3 is scheduled to start on Day 16 on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 (SK time) and will feature all 28 of the teams in the competition. Following shortly after, the final heat, will include only the top 20 teams in the standings after three runs and will determine the final rankings.
Olympic notes: Read the full Day 15 recap on Olympic.ca…Ivanie Blondin secured a silver medal in the women’s long track speed skating mass start…Canada’s medal total is now 25 (four gold, eight silver, 13 bronze).
No Saskatchewan athletes in competition on Day 14
There were no Saskatchewan athletes in action on Day 14 of the Beijing Winter Games, but Moose Jaw’s Ben Coakwell will start his competition on Day 15.
The bobsleigh brakeman, who is a part of Justin Kripps’ four-man sled, will race in his first two heats on Friday, Feb. 18 starting at 7:30 p.m. (SK time), before wrapping up the event on Day 16 with the final two heats starting on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. (SK time).
The team with the best time after four runs will claim Olympic gold.
Olympic Notes: Read the full Day 14 recap on Olympic.ca…Long track speed skater Laurent Dubreuil claimed silver in the men’s 1000-metre race…Cassie Sharpe won silver in the women’s ski halfpipe and was followed by teammate Rachael Karker with the bronze…Team Gushue won their final game to earn bronze in men’s curling…Canada’s medal count is now 24 (four gold, seven silver, 13 bronze).
Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Staff via Getty Images
Canada edges United States to reclaim Olympic title
Saskatoon’s Emily Clark can now add an Olympic gold medal to her collection after she and the Canadian women’s hockey team defeated defending champions the United States 3-2 in the final on Day 13 of the Beijing Winter Games.
Canada got the first goal of the game twice.
Natalie Spooner scored 8 minutes and 15 seconds into the game, but a coach challenge by the United States led to a review and the goal was overturned based on an offside earlier in the play.
It didn’t take the Canadians long after that to officially put one on the board as Sarah Nurse redirected a pass from Claire Thompson to get the puck by American goaltender Alex Cavallini and put Canada up 1-0.
Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin increased the lead to two at 15:02, picking the pocket of a United States player before beating Cavallini blocker side with a wrist shot to give Canada a two-goal lead.
Just before the midway point of the second period, Poulin notched her second goal of the game, capitalizing on the rebound from a Brianne Jenner shot and increasing Canada’s lead to 3-0.
The United States finally broke the seal created by Canadian goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens with 3:21 left to play in the second as Hilary Knight scored short-handed to make the it 3-1 heading into the final in period.
With three minutes left in the third period, the Americans pulled Cavallini to get the six-to-five-player advantage, which turned into a two-player advantage when Poulin was called for a tripping penalty.
Canada killed the majority of the penalty, but Amanda Kessel was able to score for the Americans with 13 seconds remaining in the game. That goal let Poulin out of the box, but the United States kept Cavallini on the bench to maintain the one-player advantage.
It was ultimately too little too late for the United States, however, as Canada claimed the final victory.
Desbiens stopped 38 of 40 shots for the Canadians while Cavallini went 18 for 21 in net for the United States.
Watch game highlights on Youtube.com.
Olympic notes: Read the full Day 13 recap on Olympic.ca…Along with gold in women’s hockey, Canada’s Marielle Thompson won silver in women’s ski cross…Canada’s medal total is now 20 (Four gold, five silver and 11 bronze).
Canadian men’s hockey team eliminated by Sweden
The Olympic journey for Prince Albert’s Adam Cracknell and the Canadian men’s hockey team came to an end on Day 12 as they were shutout 2-0 by Sweden in the quarter-finals.
It took over 50 minutes for the first goal to be scored and unfortunately for the Canadians, it was Sweden’s Lucas Wallmark that found the back of the net 10 minutes and 15 seconds into the third period.
The Canadians attempted the comeback, even pulling goaltender Matt Tomkins with 2:09 left to play for the one-man advantage. The gamble didn’t work in Canada’s favour as Anton Lander scored on the open net 19 seconds later to put the Swedes up 2-0.
The loss eliminates Canada from the 2022 Olympic Games.
Upcoming Saskatchewan competition
Saskatoon forward Emily Clark and the Canadian women’s hockey team will go for gold as they meet the United States in the Olympic final on Day 13. Game time is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 10:10 p.m. (SK time).
Olympic Notes: Read the full Day 12 recap on Olympic.ca…The Canadian men’s 5000-metre short track speedskating relay team, including Charles Hamelin, Steven Dubios, Pascal Dion, Jordan Pierre-Gilles and alternate Maxime Laoun captured gold…Canada’s medal count is now 18 (Three gold, four silver and 11 bronze).
McMorris finishes top 10 in big air final
Regina snowboarder Mark McMorris successfully landed one trick, but it wasn’t enough to secure a spot on the big air podium at the Beijing Olympics on Day 11.
McMorris scored 85.50 points on his first run. He fell on his second, which resulted in a score of 21.00. On his final run we went for it all with a quad cork 1800, but again couldn’t land it.
“There’s no point in holding back in a final,” McMorris said to the Canadian Olympic Committee after the event. “I don’t like fourth or fifth or sixth place. That’s the worst feeling. It’s better to fall and be at the bottom of the pack in the finals than it is to hold back and maybe be in that off-the-podium position. I’m really proud of myself for going for it.”
McMorris finished the big air competition in 10th place overall. His best-two-of-three runs total score of 113.75 were no match for 17-year-old Yiming Su of China who took gold with a score of 182.50, Mons Roisland of Norway with a score of 171.75 for silver and Canada’s Max Parrot who takes home his second medal of the Beijing Olympics with a score of 170.75 to secure the bronze medal.
Canadian men’s hockey team takes on host country for a second time
Prince Albert’s Adam Cracknell and the Canadian men’s hockey team surpassed China 7-2 in qualification round to skate into the quarter-final on Day 11 of the Beijing Olympics.
It was an eventful game that saw six penalties within the first 20 minutes.
Canada’s Jordan Weal —a former player with the WHL’s Regina Pats— capitalized on the Chinese penalties, scoring two powerplay goals. China answered with a goal of their own in the final five minutes of the period.
The second period got underway with a change in net for China as Paris O’Brien entered the game after goaltender Jeremy Smith appeared to be injured in the final seconds of play in the first period.
Adam Tambellini picked up two goals for Canada in the period —one on a penalty shot— and Eric O’Dell added a single, while China’s Cory Kane scored on the powerplay to make the score 5-1 heading into the final period.
All the scoring in the third period belonged to the red and white with captain Eric Staal and Jack McBain both netting their first goals of the tournament.
Canada’s men’s team will face Sweden in the quarter-final on Day 12. The puck is scheduled to drop Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 a.m. (SK time).
Read the full game recap at hockeycanada.ca
Olympic Notes: Read the full recap of Day 11 at olympic.ca… Ivanie Blondin, Valérie Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann won Canada’s first ever Olympic gold medal in the women’s team pursuit in long track speed skating. Canada’s medal count is 17 (two gold, four silver and 11 bronze)
Canada’s women’s Olympic hockey team tops Swiss once again
The Canadian women’s hockey team looked strong as they defeated Switzerland 10-3 on Day 10 to advance to the gold medal game at the 2022 Winter Games.
Five of Team Canada’s goals came in the first period with Claire Thompson starting things off at seven minutes 16 seconds. She was followed by Jamie Lee Rattray and Blayre Turnbull.
The Swiss changed goaltenders in an attempt to hold off the Canadians, only to have Renata Fast score immediately after at 9:21. Erin Ambrose added to the score to make it 5-0 at 10:40.
Lara Stadler of Switzerland scored late in the first period, taking advantage of a high-sticking penalty by Canada’s Micah Zandee-Hart, bringing the tally to 5-1 at the intermission.
Both teams were able to find the back of their opponent’s net in the second period, as Alina Muller and Stalder each notched goals for Switzerland, while captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice and Saskatoon’s Emily Clark scored once for the Canadians.
Up 8-3 entering the third period, Canada’s Emma Maltais and Brianne Jenner added insurance goals to secure their team’s victory.
The gold medal game will take place on Day 13 with the puck drop scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 10:10 p.m. (SK time).
Team Canada will face defending Olympic champions, the United States in the final. The two teams met in the preliminary round with Canada coming out on top 4-2.
Read the full game recap at hockeycanada.ca
McMorris sits eighth after big air qualification
Regina’s Mark McMorris will look for his second medal of the Beijing Olympics after advancing to the snowboard big air finals on Day 10.
Based on his two best runs in the qualification round, McMorris will move on to the Day 11 finals in eighth place with a score 147.25 points.
Fellow Canadians Max Parrot advanced to the finals in the top spot with a score of 164.75 while in 12th place, Darcy Sharpe was the last qualifier with a score of 142.00. The big air final runs are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 14 at 11 p.m. (SK time).
McMorris finished 10th in the big air event at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Earlier in the Beijing Games, he captured bronze in the slopestyle event.
Upcoming Saskatchewan competition
Prince Albert’s Adam Cracknell and the Canadian men’s hockey team will play China for the second game in a row on Day 11, this time in the qualification round. Puck drop is slated for Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 7:10 a.m.
Olympic Notes: Read the full recap of Day 10 at olympic.ca…Canada added to the medal count with a bronze medal for Christine de Bruin in the women’s monobob event. Canada’s medal count is 15 (one gold, four bronze and 10 bronze)