Canadian Paralympian Greg Westlake talks going for gold in Beijing

Mar 3 2022, 5:20 pm

The 2022 Winter Olympics may have come to an end last month, with Canada taking home a total of 26 medals, including gold for women’s hockey in a 3-2 game against the US.

However, proud Canadian fans can look forward to cheering on Team Canada again very soon as the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games are kicking off this week, running from March 4 to 13. As this group of dedicated and passionate athletes from across the country prepare for the Games, we caught up with Canadian hockey player and gold medalist Greg Westlake.

This year, the long-time trusted captain of the Canadian Para ice hockey team is going for gold one more time, marking his fifth time at the Games — and his first partnering with Wayne Gretzky Estates for this exciting journey.

“It is hard to believe these will be my last Paralympic Games, but I am looking forward to continuing my legacy off the ice, and pursuing greatness in other ways once I officially retire,” Westlake tells Daily Hive.

When it all started

Canadian hockey player Greg Westlake

Greg Westlake competing at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Dave Holland)

Looking back to when his interest in hockey first began, the Canadian team captain says his older brother, Scott, sparked his initial love for the game. “He is an incredible athlete, and I’ve always looked up to his passion.”

After growing up “playing stand-up hockey,” Westlake was introduced to sledge hockey at 15 and “instantly knew” it was for him.

“I knew fairly quickly after being introduced to sledge hockey that it would be in my life long-term. When I first started playing, I saw the dedication and incredible skill of my teammates and was so inspired to grow in the sport and pursue it professionally.”

Westlake’s commitment to the sport saw him take home the gold medal in Turin back in 2006, the bronze medal at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, and the silver medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

“Winning the gold in 2006 felt unbelievable,” shares Westlake.

A leader on and off the ice

Greg Westlake competing at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games

Greg Westlake competing at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Scott Grant)

Since Westlake became captain of his team in 2011, he has provided excellent leadership both on and off the ice.

He’s developing a successful career as a broadcaster having worked as a reporter for CBC at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. “More recently, I had the chance to host a series on AMI called Level Playing Field that celebrates athletes who have overcome incredible challenges to excel in their sport and pursue greatness in their own way,” says Westlake.

“It was so amazing to hear from so many different athletes, people who play wheelchair rugby, para judo, or hand cycling, and help ensure future generations of athletes are all given the same opportunity to pursue their passion.”

Westlake says all of his teammates continue to inspire him. “I feel so fortunate to work with a group of dedicated people. To be a veteran on the team and be able to offer some of the newer players any advice or help guide them feels great,” he shares.

Preparing for the Paralympic Games

Greg Westlake

Greg Westlake competing at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Dave Holland)

Training ahead of Beijing has been “a bit different compared to past games,” Westlake tells us.

“Unfortunately, unlike players in the professional national leagues, we haven’t had the same opportunities to compete leading up to the Games as we have in the past. While we have been training heavily, we can’t wait to get on the ice and compete internationally,” he says.

“Paralympians are some of the greatest athletes in the world, showcasing incredible talent, dedication, and sheer determination. Unfortunately, they often go unrecognized and do not receive nearly the same support or attention of other athletes,” Westlake notes.

“By rallying behind Paralympians, fans and sponsors such as Wayne Gretzky Estates are shining the spotlight on the Paralympic Games and helping athletes pursue greatness in their sport.”

Westlake says it was important to him to team up with partners that understand this dedication and commitment.

“Pursuing greatness is about striving for excellence, all attributes I work to bring to everything I do — whether it is on the ice, the golf green, with my family and friends, or advocating for the next generation of inspiring athletes.”

Wayne Gretzky Estates became the proud sponsor of the Canadian Paralympic Committee in 2021, and this winter, it will be continuing its four-year partnership by rallying behind some of the greatest athletes in Canada as they travel to Beijing.

Although many can’t be there to cheer on Team Canada in person, it’s possible to tune in at home with a beverage in hand as the athletes compete to bring the gold home.

Daily Hive

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