PYEYONG CHANG, SOUTH KOREA - Josh Pauls, of Green Brook, is the team captain and defenseman on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team competing in the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeyong Chang. The United States defeated Japan, 10 - 0 in the preliminary round on Saturday. and faces the Czech Republic on Sunday at 11 p.m. ET (NBCSN, live stream) All games will be played at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.
Eight countries are split up into two groups of four, with two teams advancing to the semifinals from each group after a preliminary round with each team playing three games.
Group A: Canada, Italy, Norway, Sweden
Group B: United States, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea
Pauls iis a 2011 graduate of Watchung Hills Regional High School and s one of the bloggers for PyeongChang 2018 and will be producing videos (45 seconds to 3 minutes long) on his behind-the-scenes experience.
Pauls was named Best Defenseman of the 2015 IPC Sled Hockey World Championship and named a finalist for the 2015 ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability and is looking to build on the two gold medals he helped the team win at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.
From Team USA
Pauls found a passion for sled hockey at an early age. Growing up in New Jersey, he had hopes of becoming the first NHL goalie with no legs. He was born without tibia bones and had both legs amputated at 10 months old. After a few years and some convincing from his parents, he joined a local team, the New York Rangers Junior Sled Hockey club team in 2002. Moving through the ranks quickly and showing promise, he was invited to a USA Hockey Development Camp in 2007. Shortly after, he made his U.S. National Sled Hockey Team debut in 2008. In 2010, at age 17, he was the youngest member of the gold medal-winning squad at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. He went on to make his second Paralympic team, winning gold in Sochi and continues to be an intricate piece in the team’s international success.
Named Best Defenseman at the 2015 World Championships and 2016 Pan Pacific Championships.
Nicknamed “Spuds” due to his unique ritual of facing a Mr. Potato Head figure toward the opponent’s locker room before every game.