The International Para Ice Hockey Cup opens play tomorrow at RT Torax Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Four teams will compete in the tournament that begins Saturday and runs through September 30. Team U.S.A. heads to Ostrava after a dominate Paralympic gold medal win over Team Canada in Beijing in March.
Canada will be looking for revenge at the International Para Hockey Cup, while Team Czechia and the International Para Hockey Team, which combines top players from several countries, plan to challenge the top team as well.
Team U.S.A. returns to Ostrava where they've found success in recent years, winning the World Para Ice Hockey Championship there in 2019 and 2021. There will be several familiar faces on the ice for Team U.S.A. including two of the best forwards in the game - Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal. The two led the team in points at the Paralympics Games in March. Josh Pauls, a four time Paralympic gold medal winner and five time world champion in the sport, will headline the defense. The team will be coached once again by David Hoff.
There are several new faces making their international tournament debut for Team U.S.A. including forwards Nick Witkowski, Ben Musselman, Rob Easley, and Brett Bolton. Goaltending newcomer Chris McCoy will share time in net with Paralympic veteran Griffin LaMarre.
Nashville will be represented once again in international play by Joseph Woodke. Woodke has been a part of the U.S.A. Men's Nation Sled Hockey Team since 2019, playing both forward and defense positions.
Para ice hockey, also called sled or sledge hockey, is very similar to traditional stand up hockey except the athletes sit in sleds and play with two smaller hockey sticks. The sticks have picks on the ends which the players use to propel themselves across the ice.
U.S.A. kicks off their round robin play Saturday, September 24 at 9:00 am CT against Team IPH. The game can be streamed here.