SOCHI, Russia –Goaltender Steve Cash (Overland, Mo.) of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will be the Team USA flag bearer at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony on Sunday (March 16), the United States Olympic Committee announced today. Cash was chosen by a vote of fellow Team USA athletes.
"Obviously first and foremost, it is a tremendous honor, but at the same time it's not as much about having an individual opportunity to bear the flag, but also being able to represent my country and all of the athletes who came out and are here representing their country as well," said Cash. "I am able to represent 80 athletes, especially my teammates who have been there for me through thick and thin ever since I started in the sport. It's really more about a collective group than just representing myself."
Cash and the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team will play in Saturday's (March 15) gold-medal game, where they will face Russia at noon ET. Team USA is seeking to become the first country to earn back-to-back Paralympic gold medals in sled hockey. NBC is broadcasting the game live, while TeamUSA.org will have a live web stream.
"Steve Cash has become an icon for the Paralympic Movement in the U.S.," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "He was the team MVP in Vancouver and is a trusted leader and friend to not only his teammates, but all U.S. Paralympic athletes. Congratulations to Steve for this tremendous honor, and we certainly wish him and the rest of the team the best of luck as they take on Russia for the gold medal tomorrow night – go Team USA."
At the 2014 Paralympics, Cash has backstopped the U.S. to preliminary round wins over Italy (5-1) and South Korea (3-0), plus a semifinal victory against Canada (3-0). The only two goals he has permitted came in a 2-1 loss to Russia in the preliminary round. Overall, Cash has stopped 37-of-39 shots for a .949 save percentage and a 0.51 goals against average.
A three-time Paralympian, Cash starred at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, where he did not allow a single goal in five games as Team USA won the gold medal. He was named Best Goaltender of the tournament. Cash received an ESPY Award from ESPN as the 2010 Best Male Athlete with a Disability. Cash owns a Paralympic record shutout streak of 313 minutes and 17 seconds. It spanned seven-plus games, beginning in 2006, lasting the entire 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and ending three-games into the 2014 Games.
Cash, whose right leg was amputated due to osteosarcoma (bone cancer) at age 3, started his sled hockey career with the Disabled Athlete Sports Association St. Louis Blues in 2004 and made his first U.S. Sled Hockey National Team in 2005.
Cash will lead the 80-member U.S. team into the Closing Ceremony on Sunday at Fisht Olympic Stadium. The ceremony will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network from 3:30-5:30 p.m. ET.
March 27, 2017 | When USA Hockey implemented its American Development Model in 2009, one element of the nationwide age-appropriate training blueprint sparked more debate than any other: cross-ice hockey for 8U players. In the years since, an abundance of evidence, both data-driven and anecdotal, has proven the developmental advantages of cross-ice hockey.
This week, Hockey Canada announced that it too will introduce its players to the game through cross-ice play beginning in 2017-18.
“Re-sizing the playing surface to cross-ice or half-ice means more puck touches, which result in more chances to practice puck control and shooting, as well as overall more movement and motor skill-development – twisting, turning, balance, coordination, agility,” said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development for Hockey Canada, in a release today. “Their field-of-play matches their size, and these players hone in on their skill-development in a way that larger ice surfaces just aren’t conducive to.”
The Grassroots Show on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 weighed in on the decision. Click the audio link below to hear how Canada is embracing cross-ice hockey for the coming season and beyond.
Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada, appeared on the Grassroots Show to discuss the nationwide shift to cross-ice hockey, beginning this fall for 5- and 6-year-olds and expanding to all of Canada's Novice (8U) level in 2018-19.
“When you see 10 or 12 or 14 or 16 kids out on the ice in between periods and they’re playing 200-by-85 and 3 or 4 kids touch the puck in that whole six minutes, yet there’s people in the stands clapping and thinking it’s wonderful, I just can’t help but think about the 95 percent of the children that didn’t even touch the puck or get from one end of the rink to the other and I ask myself what are we doing when the opportunity is certainly there to have 30 kids on the ice playing cross-ice and everyone is having a much better opportunity to touch the puck, skate a shorter distance and really play. It just boggles my mind,” said Renney.
“We completely embrace, at the Initiation level and the Novice level, cross-ice hockey and we have mandated that in the Initiation program and we will mandate it across the country in Novice hockey.
“This is about the pure enjoyment of the game, and your first connection with it has to be something that’s pure fun, on a surface of play that is conducive to much more participation and joy.”