Smithers resident Adam Kingsmill is preparing for the Beijing Paralympics Winter Games 2022.
One of two Team Canada Paralympic goalies, Kingsmill explained how the team is getting prepared for the upcoming games.
“Over the past few weeks, more and more teammates are trickling in from around the country to start our full centralization in Calgary starting on January 28th, where we will then be in a bubble situation until we leave to Beijing on February 24th,” Kingsmill said.
“As of right now we are buckling down even more with four to six ice times per week, with three strength sessions and three cardio sessions (pretty typical week for our program).
“However, once the team is together we will be ramping up our ice times to dial in our systems with the full team.
“As for the elephant in the world’s room, (COVID-19), every team member is doing their best to maintain health protocols when away from the team environment, as testing positive before the tournament will lead to serious complications.
“With that said, Hockey Canada, along with the Canadian Paralympic Committee have been doing their best to ensure our safety through a variety of protocols before and during the 2022 Paralympic Games.
“As for when we arrive in Beijing, we are unaware of the activities and such we will have to part take-in. However, we have a fantastic staff that takes care of all of the logistics, which allows us to focus on the business at hand of bringing home gold for Canada.
“With the games still a month away, I am already being humbled by the opportunity ahead. Already, it is a surreal experience, as we undergo vigorous training session with an overall feeling of excitement that surrounds our training facility (Canadian Olympic Park in Calgary Alberta).
“I personally have yet to feel the stress and excitement ahead which I feel is due to our mental performance plan, preparing us for specifically this time.
“However, being able to witness my friends being named to their respective Olympic teams, I do have excitement about having the Earth’s greatest spectacle back and having the world united in a happy circumstance, a feeling that may have been lost over these trying times,” Kingsmill said.
As many in the Smithers area plan on cheering on the hometown hero, his parents have always been his biggest fans.
“We are so very proud of Adam,” said mother Bobbie and father Grange. “He has always put 100 per cent into everything he has done, and his hard work is paying off . We know this is only the beginning for him and we will be supporting him every step of the way.
“The whole family wishes we were in China in person to watch Adam in his first Olympics.
“It was heartbreaking that we couldn’t go because of the COVID restrictions, but we completely understand and respect the decisions that have been made. We are already starting to calculate games time and navigating time zones! Adam knows we will be watching every game regardless of the game time.”
Kingsmill’s brother Matt and the rest of his family will be cheering from home as well.
“I am very proud of my brother and his journey to the Olympics. Every step of the way has been a grind, but watching his dreams come to life; shows that it’s all been worth it. We are are excited to what the future holds for him,” Matt said.
“We are wishing Adam and all the Canadian Para-Olympic Athletes all the best from back home. Go Team Canada!”
There are 20 games on the schedule within a nine-day span with all games played at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing.
The opening day of competition on March 5 will feature two of the most anticipated preliminary round matchups — Paralympic and world champions No. 1 USA vs. Paralympic and world silver medallists No. 2 Canada as both continue their North American rivalry.
The eight participating teams will be separated into two groups, with Group A featuring the top-four ranked teams in the world and Group B including the next set of four.
Group A includes number one-ranked USA, number two-ranked Canada, third-ranked Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) and number four-ranked Korea.
Group B includes fifth ranked Czech Republic, number 6, Italy, number seventh-ranked Slovakia and number eighth-ranked China.
The schedule is as follows:
Saturday March 5 at 1:05 p.m USA vs CAN
Sunday March 6 9:35 a.m. CAN vs RPC
Tues March 8 1:05 pm CAN vs KOR (Korea)
March 9 is the Quarterfinal games at 4:35 p.m. and 8:05 p.m.
March 11 is Semifinal games at 12:05 p.m. and 8:05 p.m.
Saturday March 12 is the Bronze medal game at 8:05 p.m.
and Sunday, March 13, the Gold-medal game will be held at 12:05 p.m.
The times listed are Beijing Standard Time. Beijing is 16 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time in B.C.