Hockey player Crane has achieved his Paralympic goal

Hitting the ice against the United States at the 2022 Paralympic Games was the culmination of a six-year goal for Team Canada’s Rod Crane.

A first-time Paralympian in Beijing, he appeared in the opening round game against Team Canada’s biggest rival.

Before the throw-in, there were a lot of things in the defender’s head.

“Before going on the ice, I was mostly thinking about everything I had been through so far,” said the Heathcote, Ont., native. “Everything my family has been through, everything my friends have been through.”

Crane has set her sights on competing at the Paralympic Games in 2016.

After playing for Sledge Team Ontario and being invited to the national development team, the goal became more than just a prospect, and that meant a new mindset.

“It’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s something achievable and something I really want to do,” he said.

Representing Team Canada, Crane was able to compete at the World Para Ice Hockey Championships in 2019 and 2021.

But even though he had played in big games before, he was excited to compete in the Paralympic Games which he considers a whole new level.

Crane viewed the opportunity to play such a game as a kind of reward for himself and those close to him.

“I think it was a good gift for me, but I think it was an even better gift for my friends, family and supporters,” he said. “They know what I’ve been through and what I’ve sacrificed to get to this moment.”

Crane has enjoyed being back home after returning from Beijing and is taking his time deciding what comes next.

Catherine J. Martinez