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World Sledge Hockey Championship begins this weekend at HarborCenter

Chris Caya/WBFO news

Eight of the world's best sled hockey teams are in Buffalo looking to win a gold medal. The IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships include a rematch between the USA and Russia. 

After defeating Russia 2-1 in overtime in the 2015 World Sled Hockey Challenge and beating the Russians for the gold at the 2014 Winter Paralympics, the two teams face off again Sunday at HarborCenter.

"We've been preparing for this event since Sochi ended," said Josh Sweeney, captain of Team USA.

"As soon as we found out that we were going to be home for the World Championship in 2015, we didn't want to disappoint."

Team USA goaltender Steve Cash says he has seen tremendous growth in the sport since he joined the team ten years ago. Cash credits USA Hockey's Sled Lending Program which allows groups to measure interest in the community.    

"I think the fact that people just get onto the sleds and try it, they immediately fall in love with it," Cash said.

Credit Chris Caya/WBFO news
Team Italy practiced at HarborCenter Tuesday in preparation for the IPC World Sledge Hockey Championship.

Team USA forward Adam Page of Lancaster also plays with the Buffalo Sabres Sled Hockey Team.

"It will be great to play in front of all the hometown people of Buffalo," Page said.

Along with Russia, the U.S. plays Italy and Germany. The defending champion Canada faces Czech Republic Norway and Japan.

The sled hockey championships run Sunday through May 3.