With only one returning defenceman from the 2018 Paralympic Games silver-medal team, Ken Babey reached out to a veteran of the squad to help fill a hole on the blueline.
And Liam Hickey answered the call.
Hickey, still only 20, is back with the national Para hockey team for the third straight year.
The St. John’s native was one of 18 players named to the national team by Babey following a team selection camp which attracted 28 players to Calgary.
Unlike his previous two years wearing the maple leaf, Hickey will play defence this winter.
“(Coach Babey) called me up, wanted to know my thoughts about playing ‘D’. I’m up for anything, and I told him that. So we’ll start the season on defence and see how it goes. It went pretty well at camp.”
James Gemmel is the only defenceman on the team who played at the Pyeonchang Paralympics.
“He (Babey) called me up, wanted to know my thoughts about playing ‘D’,” Hickey said. “I’m up for anything, and I told him that.
“So we’ll start the season on defence and see how it goes. It went pretty well at camp.”
Hickey is one of nine players returning from the squad which won a silver medal at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. That was Canada’s best finish in Paralympics hockey since 2006.
The 18 players chosen will continue to train and compete in international competitions, including the Canadian Tire Para Hockey Cup Dec. 2-8 in London, Ont., and a cross-border series with the United States in March.
The season winds up in April with the IPC World Para Hockey Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic.