The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team is practicing today from 1:30-2:30pm ET in preparation for tomorrow's championship game against Canada. The U.S. reached the title game by knocking off Italy, 5-1, while Canada blanked Korea, 8-0, in its semifinal game.

The leadership group of the 2017-18 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team shared their thoughts on the importance of beginning the season with a tournament win.
     "They just keep getting better and better. They're laser focused and their main goal is to win and build off of this performance to continue improving as we get closer to the Paralympics," said Guy Gosselin (Grafton, Wis.), head coach of the 2017-18 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.
     "To be successful is really just to be dictating the pace. We want to use our speed, use our quickness and use our skill. It's just going to take a complete buy-in from every player," said Josh Pauls (Green Brook, N.J.), captain of Team USA.
     "The season starts now and hopefully we can show everyone what we're made of. It'd be huge just to set a tone for the year," said Nikko Landeros (Johnstown, Colo.), alternate captain for Team USA.
     "This is always the first tournament of the year so it's important to start the season off on a good note. Our team looks better than I've ever seen before so we're really excited." said alternate captain, Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.).

Declan Farmer (Tampa, Fla.) registered a goal and three assists as the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team defeated Italy, 5-1, today to advance to the championship game of the 2017 World Sled Hockey Challenge on Saturday (Dec. 9). For the recap, highlights and postgame comments, click here.

The United States and Canada are the only two teams to have won the World Sled Hockey Challenge, with both teams claiming five wins apiece. Overall, the U.S. has made seven WSHC finals while Canada has reached the title game all but once, when it earned a bronze medal at the 2015 WSHC in Leduc, Alberta.

This is the seventh consecutive major international title game to feature the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. had won six straight championship meetings before falling to Canada, 4-1, in the gold medal game of last year's 2017 Para Sled Hockey World Championship in Gangneung, South Korea. The last time the two teams did not meet in a championship game was in the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge, when the U.S. and Russia met in a rematch of the gold medal game of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, which the U.S. won, 1-0.

2017 Para Sled Hockey World Championship Gangneung, South Korea Canada United States
2016 (Dec.) WSHC Charlottetown, P.E.I. United States Canada
2016 IPC Pan-Pacific Championship Buffalo, New York United States Canada
2016 (Jan.) WSHC Bridgewater, N.S. United States Canada
2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship Buffalo, New York United States Canada
2015 WSHC Leduc, Alberta United States Canada