Bridgewater will again play host to the world’s best para hockey players.
The town was recently selected by Hockey Canada to welcome the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup in 2020. The event will run from Dec. 6 to 12.
Hockey Canada Director Goops Wooldridge said the town’s previous hosting experience played a large part in the decision to return to the Maritimes.
“Our athletes, our coaches still talk about the way they were treated here and it makes it a lot easier to come back,” said Wooldridge.
Bridgewater last hosted the world’s top para teams at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (LCLC) in 2016.
The event was rebranded from the World Sledge Hockey Challenge in 2018.
Wooldridge added the town’s experience with the Esso Cup in 2018, Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, as another reason for the move.
Lunenburg MLA Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, who was present for the announcement on April 17 at the LCLC, said she was thrilled to see the para hockey's return to the area.
“What a great day for hockey in Nova Scotia,” she said. “I think it’s going to be bigger than the last time we hosted this event because people go a taste of sledge hockey.”
She added the region has earned a reputation as a good host community and hopes it will continue to attract events.
Lohnes-Croft also announced $20,000 in provincial funding for the event, which is expected to have an economic impact of more than $1 million to the Bridgewater area.
Garth Isenor, president of Hockey Nova Scotia, said the return of para hockey will only add to the growing interest in the sport.
“A lot of rinks are offering para hockey,” he said.
Isenor said the province’s hospitality and volunteerism are second to none.
“We have great volunteers in Nova Scotia and in my opinion, the best hospitality you could ever find,” he said. “When people leave here, they talk about us.”
More than 10,000 fans attended the event in 2016.