Sledge hockey team coming to Trail March 3

Michael Mondin will be behind the bench again for the men’s sledge hockey team in Vancouver.

Trail’s own Michael Mondin will be taking part in the upcoming Paralympic Games behind the bench as a coach with the Canadian Men’s Sledge Hockey Team.

In his second year behind the bench as assistant coach, Mondin is excited to play on home turf with the team and hopefully shine on the world stage as they have before.

“Playing in your home country can be a privilege depending on how you approach it.

“There’s lots of pressure but there’s also lots of support, you have to look at it positively,” said Mondin, who doubles as an applied technology teacher at J.L. Crowe Secondary in Trail.

“The guys are a very focused group, for some guys it will be their first and other guys have been to the Paralympics five times before. They know all the media presence, pressures, stresses and distractions that come with the games.”

Mondin grew up playing minor hockey in Trail and was on to the junior Smoke Eaters before coaching other community and high school sports such as soccer and baseball.

The Canadian Men’s Sledge Hockey team will be the ones to beat at the upcoming Games having taken the last gold at the Winter Paralympic games in Turin in 2006.

Most of the team is based out of Ontario with other members scattered throughout the country.

The team gets together roughly once a month at least to practice or play games together, most recently in Saskatoon and three games against the Korean national team in Vancouver in mid-January.

The Canadians have been World Champions over five times since 1991 in World Cup tournaments, World Sledge Hockey Challenge’s and at the last Winter Games in Turin.

Some members are as young as 20 or as old as their 50s but all are in great physical shape with great skill on the ice.

Mondin used to coach the Trail Smoke Eaters for nine years when he thought he was done behind the bench.

“I got a call from the team manager Adam Crocket and he asked me if I would be interested in helping out at an event in Kelowna. I helped out and was asked to stick around,” said Mondin.

“It’s just another version of hockey it’s all the same stuff but no backwards skating. The plays, breakouts, offence, defence and special teams are all the same theory.”

The national team with Mondin behind the bench will be in Trail on March 3 from 10-12 practicing at the Cominco Arena while on a road trip from Calgary on their way to Vancouver.

They will also be stopping in Kelowna to play a game against the Czech Republic.

Mondin is excited to get to Vancouver and support the team on their road to a hopeful spot on the podium.

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