Opening Ceremony: Root for the Home Team, but Appreciate and Cherish the Home Crowd
Written by Peter Quartuccio
There they sat. Spectators draped in green, white, and shades of blue, waving their illuminating pompoms that set the BC Place aglow with a vibrant red. As they cheered and applauded and sang, one got the sense that they could not have been prouder. Last night’s Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver proved a thoroughly moving and memorable evening, one which celebrated Canada, Canadians, and the Paralympians in attendance who, in the words of International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven, “redefine the possible.”
Athletes from forty-four countries spread across five continents proudly entered BC Place last night, each with a story of triumph and each with a dream for Paralympic glory. They were cheered and addressed and lauded all night, and while the celebrity appearances and thoughtful though redundant speeches were many, the focus never strayed far from the athletes and the setting for the games to come. The ceremony exuded a sincere pride for country, a country that has provided inspiration for so many in the persons of Terry Fox and Rick Hansen, athletes who helped expand the notions of what was possible for disabled individuals in athletic competition.
All of the festivities were aided of course by the aforementioned wonderful people fortunate enough to be present. There was an effervescent feel to the proceedings that lent a real energy among the crowd, an energy that was evident throughout. There were roars of anticipatory fervor when the mere implication of a United States-Canada sled hockey match-up was made by Sir Craven, who termed it “the clash of the titans.” When British Columbia native and Paralympic champion Rick Hansen was announced, the crowd erupted and showered Hansen with boomingly loud cheers of adulation and respect. The lighting of the flame produced a similarly emphatic response, and the faces of the thousands in the stands emitted pure joy as watched that enduring flame ignite. The torch and all it stands got a captive audience tonight, an audience whose passion, reverence, and excitement contributed to making last night a truly magical evening.
To see additional coverage of the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver, go to www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.
Click here for more photos of the opening ceremony.
All photographs by Carter Farmer
From USA Hockey website:
VANCOUVER, B.C. - Just two weeks after the conclusion of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team is set to begin its quest for gold here at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Following Friday's (March 12) Opening Ceremony, Team USA will kick off its preliminary-round tournament play Saturday (March 13) against South Korea at 5 p.m. PST at the University of British Columbia's Thunderbird Arena.
The United States enters this year's sled hockey tournament as the top seed for the first time in Paralympic Winter Games history, having captured the 2009 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship last May. Team USA will face South Korea, the Czech Republic and Japan in round-robin play before advancing to either the medal or relegation round.
Team USA's roster features forward Joe Howard (Kingston, Mass.), a four-time member of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010) and goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.), the 2009 U.S. Olympic Committee Paralympic SportsMan of the Year. For the full roster including bios, click here.
Joe Howard is a four-time member of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.
Fans will be able to watch Team USA's preliminary-round match-up against Japan, along with all of the tournament's medal-round games, online at ParalympicSport.tv. In addition, NBC Sports will air a one-hour recap of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday (March 13) from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. EST and a two-hour highlights program on April 10 from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. EDT.
Meanwhile, Universal Sports will broadcast a nightly two-hour show covering the previous day's Paralympic Winter Games action from March 15-23 starting at 7 p.m. EDT. Finally, Universal Sports will offer on-demand re-airs of its coverage along with full-length event "rewinds" at UniversalSports.com.
For links to live scoring, an exclusive U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team blog, video, photos, and features, visit USAHockey.com throughout the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
NOTES: The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team captured the bronze medal at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, and earned gold at the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah ... No team has won gold more than once in the four Paralympic Winter Games of which sled hockey has been a part (Sweden-1994; Norway-1998; United States-2002; Canada-2006) ... The U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team was announced last December and is comprised of 15 of the 18 members of the 2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team ... The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team has won the last three IPC-sanctioned tournaments leading up to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (2009 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship, 2009 World Sledge Hockey Challenge, 2010 Japan Para Ice Sledge Hockey Championships) ... The 2009-10 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team posted a 9-3-1-3 overall record, including a pair of IPC tournaments and exhibition series' against Canada and Japan. For recaps from the 2009-10 season and player stats, click here... For information on all of the United States' Paralympic athletes, visit USParalympics.org.
Team USA 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Schedule
March 13-20 - Vancouver, B.C.
|Sat., March 13
|Sun., March 14
|Tues., March 16
|Thurs., March 18
|Fri., March 19
|Sat., March 20
Team USA Roster
Sled team blog
GE To Be Presenting Sponsor of NBC Sports and Universal Sports’ Broadcast of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. and NEW YORK– NBC Sports and Universal Sports announced today the multiplatform broadcast coverage of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games presented by GE. Coverage on NBC Sports will include a one-hour program recapping the Opening Ceremony on Saturday, March 13 (1-2 p.m. ET) and a two-hour highlights program on Saturday, April 10 (3-5 p.m. ET).
In addition to the coverage on NBC Sports, Universal Sports will broadcast a nightly two-hour show for nine straight nights dedicated to the daily competition of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games starting on Monday, March 15 at 6 p.m. ET (re-air at 11 p.m. ET) and continuing nightly through Tuesday, March 23.
Additionally, UniversalSports.com will offer on-demand re-airs of the Universal Sports television coverage, plus full-length event “rewinds.”
The official site of the U.S. Paralympic Team, www.usparalympics.org, will also offer daily video and news highlights of the competition from Vancouver.
“The extensive coverage on NBC Sports and Universal Sports helps to raise the awareness of the Paralympics by telling the stories of these remarkable athletes, and demonstrates NBC Universal’s commitment to the Olympic movement in the United States,” said Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics.
“We are thrilled that fans of Team USA will be able to stay connected to all the action in Vancouver and follow the accomplishments of Paralympians from throughout the world,” said Scott Blackmun, U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer.
The Paralympic Winter Games is an elite sporting event for accomplished athletic champions spanning five different physical disability groups. Emphasizing the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality, the Paralympic Winter Games showcase participants' athletic achievements rather than their physical disability in five sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, sled hockey and wheelchair curling. In Vancouver, a total of 600 athletes from approximately 40 countries will compete in these five sports.
Paralympic Broadcast Schedule on NBC Sports and Universal Sports:
(Note: All listed times are E.T.)
Opening Ceremony highlights – Saturday, March 13, 1-2 p.m.
Paralympics recap – Saturday, April 10, 3-5 p.m.
Monday, March 15 – Tuesday March 23, 7 p.m. (re-air at 11 p.m.)
U.S. Olympic Committee, Paralympic Division
1 Olympic Plaza | Colorado Springs, CO 80909
ABOUT UNIVERSAL SPORTS: Universal Sports, a partnership between NBC Sports and InterMedia Partners, serves as the preeminent multiplatform destination for Olympic-related and lifestyle sports programming available on television and online. Universal Sports, available in more than 57 million homes, is in nine of the top 10 DMAs including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Houston, plus Seattle and Denver. Major world championship and Olympic qualifying events found on Universal Sports range from track and field, skiing, swimming, gymnastics, marathons and cycling, to volleyball, rowing, triathlon, fencing, speed skating and martial arts. UniversalSports.com delivers an immersive experience via live and on-demand competition coverage, as well as interaction with top athletes through blogs and in-depth access to Olympic sports news and information year round. For more information on the availability of the Universal Sports 24-hour television channel, please visit UniversalSports.tv.
From CT Hockey News:
While the Olympic Games concluded on Sunday with a gold medal game between the USA and Canada that will go down in the record books of one of the greatest of all time, international hockey competition with Connecticut residents representing the USA will continue in Vancouver. Anthony Kuntz (West Hartford) and Ryan Pellitier (Columbia) have both been selected to play on the USA National Under-20 Sled Hockey team that will compete in Vancouver, British Columbia at the 2010 Paralympic Games, which begin on March 12, 2010.
Anthony and Ryan are members of the CT Sled Hockey team, that practices weekly at Loomis Chaffee School and participates in the Northeast Sled Hockey League. Once a month they travel to Danbury, CT where they play teams from New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania.
CT Sled Hockey started in 2003 when a group of people driving past a rink in Massachusettsa saw an advertisement for a sled hockey tournament. They stopped and learned that while there were teams from the surrounding states, there was no team from CT. This was the catalyst - after many meetings and brainstorming sessions, as well as guidance from the disabled division of USA Hockey - CT Sled Hockey was born.
The vision from inception was to create a program that is available to any person within the state of CT who is interested in participating. Initial funding received from the Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce and the Hartford Wolfpack allowed CT Sled Hockey to purchase sleds and necessary equipment to get the program off the ground. With ongoing fundraising, the program continues to be free all players.
We are incredibly impressed by the dedication of the coaches and parents of CT Sled Hockey, as well as the athleticism and strength exhibited by their players. We'd like to introduce you to Anthony, Ryan, their coach Pat Carney, proud parent Dr. Joanne Kuntz, and the rest of the sled hockey team. Please watch these videos: Meet Anthony & Ryan and About CT Sled Hockey. We think you'll be impressed, too!
If you would like to see the CT Sled Hockey team in action, go watch the "Celebrity Sled Hockey Game" on March 6, 2010 at ISCC in Simsbury. The "celebrity" team will include celebrities from Channel 30, Hartford area radio personalities, former U.S. Paralympians, former Hartford Wolfpack players, and former Hartford Whalers players. The game starts at 4:00 pm. The event will also include raffles with over $800 worth of prizes donated by local businesses as well as the opportunity to try out a sled after the game.