Hamilton tie through cancer survivor on Canada’s Paralympics hockey team
Published February 15, 2022 at 7:26 pm
Garrett Riley, who was treated for cancer in Hamilton and also first tried Para ice hockey with a team in the city, will be a first-time Paralympian when he helps Canada go for hockey gold in Beijing next month.
Riley, 27, was one of 17 players selected Tuesday to Canada’s Para ice hockey roster by the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Hockey Canada. The Paralympics take place from March 4 to 13. Canada’s opener is against the United States at 12:05 a.m. Eastern time on March 5.
A Brantford, Ont., native, Riley is a survivor of osteosarcoma, the same cancer that took the life Terry Fox. An avid hockey player, Riley was diagnosed when he was 15 years old and went through treatment at the Juravinski Cancer Centre and the McMaster Children’s Hospital. His treatment included going through painful chemotherapy and reconstructive knee surgery at the same time.
— Stacey Marjerrison (@staceymarj) February 15, 2022
Riley, against the odds, returned to stand-up hockey after his recovery. He first explored para-hockey with the Hamilton Sledgehammers in 2017, then got on the national team’s radar with a strong showing at a Paralympian Search event in Montreal. He repped Canada at the world championship in 2019.
However, not unlike Fox, whose Marathon of Hope in 1980 remains one of the most galvanizing experiences in Canadian history, Riley had to have a partial amputation. In January 2020, part of his left leg was removed due to an infection.
Oakville native and longtime captain Greg Westlake, who will be a fifth-time Paralympian, will be leading Canada as it tries to win its first Paralympics hockey gold medal since 2006. Another returning mainstay is sixth-timer Billy Bridges, who hails from Summerside, P.E.I., but has also spent time in Oakville.
Team Canada also faces the Russian Paralympic Committee (March 5, 8:35 p.m. ET) and Korea (March 8, 12:05 a.m.) in the preliminary round.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising