McKenna not the only Islander heading to Sochi

Nancy
Nancy MacPhee
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Summerside-born Billy Bridges competing in sledge hockey; Mark Arendz one to watch on Canada’s Para-Nordic Team

TORONTO, Ont. — Ryan McKenna won’t be the only Islander in Sochi, Russia, for the Paralympic Winter Games.

Billy Bridges in action with Team Canada.

Billy Bridges, who was born in Summerside, will represent Canada, competing in the sport that McKenna will be writing about while Mark Arendz of Springton, a member of the Canadian Para-Nordic Team, will compete in his second Paralympic Winter Games.

Bridges has been on the National Sledge Hockey team since age 14 and is a two-time world champion. This is his fourth time competing at the Paralympic Games.

In 2006, he was a member of the 2006 Canadian Paralympic Sledge Hockey team that won gold in Turin, Italy.

McKenna, who will write about all eight teams competing in the tournament, said although he rooted for Canada during the Olympics, he wouldn’t be showing any favouritism in his coverage.

“I know Team Canada best. They are the No. 1 seeded team in the tournament. They and the Americans are ones to watch. They are fairly close between the two of them,” he added. “I covered a lot of Canada and talked to a lot of Canadian players, Canada is the top team in the world at the moment.”

The aspiring sports journalist had an opportunity to meet Bridges will covering sledge hockey in the fall.

“I spoke to Billy at the end of October for the ICP Top 50 Moments of 2013. I talked to him about competing at the World Championships and what that was like, his preparation and that sort of thing,” said McKenna. “I got to meet him briefly in person at one of their games in December at the World Sledge Hockey Challenge here in Toronto. It was nice to put a face to the name.”

Arendz began his competitive career in 2003 and competed at the 2010 Paralympics Winter Games in Vancouver. This year, he placed first overall in the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup Biathlon standings.

“Mark Arendz he is going to be one to watch in Sochi.”

The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games go from March 7 to 16.

 

nmacphee@journalpioneer.com

 

Organizations: Nordic, Canadian Para-Nordic Team, National Sledge Hockey Canadian Paralympic Sledge Hockey International Paralympic Committee World Sledge Hockey Challenge

Geographic location: Canada, Sochi, Summerside Para Turin Italy Toronto Vancouver

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