The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team has celebrated a lot since 2014, winning seven of the last 10 meetings in the Border Series. If they sweep the 2020 series they will finish 2019-20 with an undefeated 7-0 record. Photo Courtesy of USA Hockey
Editor's note: The article was published prior to this year's Border Series, which took place Feb. 13 and Feb. 16 at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira, Ontario. Team USA played to a 2-2 tie with Canada in the series opener and recorded a 2-0 victory in the second game.
The U.S. National Sled Hockey team is in the Great White North this week, preparing to battle its biggest rival: Team Canada.
The two-game showdown between the world's top two teams is part the semiannual Border Series, now in its 14th year.
“It’s always a great game when we play against [Canada],” U.S. head coach David Hoff said. “We know we’re gonna get six great periods out of this to see how our guys have improved.”
Now spanning a 48-game history, the Border Series started in Lake Placid, New York, in December 2004. Canada has a 31-17 series lead, suggesting dominance, but the series breaks into eras of superiority for both sides.
Team USA went on to win the title at the event, signaling it was a worthy candidate to knock its northern neighbor from the throne in the realm of sled hockey. In 2010, the U.S. continued its march toward becoming the world's top team by earning its second Paralympic Gold Medal in the program's history – and doing so in Vancouver, no less.
Still, victories appeared to be blips, and by the end of 2013, Canada held a massive 28-10 advantage in the Border Series.
The U.S. finally broke through in the Border Series six years ago and have never looked back, forcing Canada to become the world’s second fiddle in sled hockey.
In January 2014, the Americans won two of the three games played in series at Indian Trail, North Carolina, and two months later, Team USA topped Team Canada again, this time in the semifinals of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The U.S. went on to defeat the host country and secured their second consecutive Paralympic gold medal. Canada, meanwhile, settled for bronze.
Since those tide-turning series victories, the U.S. has won 23 of its 28 games against Canada, including eight of nine in championship or gold medal meetings. They have also won seven of 10 in the border battle.
Hoff isn’t expecting any victories to be easy this go-round, despite Team USA's recent command over Canada. Nineteen Border Series games have been decided by one goal, including nine in overtime.
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