Paralympians won't get medal bonuses

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:20 PM ET

VANCOUVER - Canadians who win medals at the 2010 Winter Paralympics will not receive cash bonuses like their Olympic cousins.

Not even the sledge hockey team, whose games are the only Paralympic events telecast live on national commercial TV.

“Not these Paralympics but maybe in the future that will be there,” said Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson said Thursday. “Everyone wants to talk about everyone being equal and I think that is the way we should go in the future."

Each player on Canada’s Olympic gold medal-winning men’s and women’s hockey teams was awarded a $20,000 bonus from the $5.9 million Canadian Olympic Committee Athlete Excellence Fund. Each silver medal was worth $15,000 while a bronze was $10,000. The Canadian Paralympic Committee does not have a comparable fund.

The Canadian sledge hockey team will play for bronze Friday night after a shocking 3-1 loss to Japan in a Thursday semifinal.

Meanwhile, Nicholson said he met with International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel in Vancouver and will continue to lobby hockey’s world governing body to adopt and develop sledge hockey.

“They have not agreed to take it on but there are indications,” Nicholson said.

"We try to treat our sledge team just like our men's and women's (Olympic) team and we will try to talk about the model over the next few days and hopefully have that type of talks with the IIHF in our meeting in Germany in May."

IIHF was criticized during the Vancouver Olympics for the lack of parity in the women’s game.

Nicholson said it’s possible to encourage international development of both sledge hockey and women’s hockey at the same time.

“It is not always about money,” he said. “It is about utilizing people that have a passion to grow the sport."

Hockey Canada reported 509 registered sledge hockey players nationally in 2009.


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