Josh Sweeney

Category: NHL, Olympians
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Josh Sweeney is a retired Marine Corps Sergeant who scored the gold-medal winning goal for the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team in the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. His goal in the second period gave the U.S. its second straight gold medal in the event. Sports speaker Sweeney, who has received a Purple Heart for his sacrifice in combat, will also receive the inaugural Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2014 ESPY Awards.

Sweeney played hockey throughout high school in Arizona, and joined the U.S. Marine Corps soon after his graduation. As a marine, he served in Afghanistan, where he became a bilateral amputee. During his rehabilitation, one of his physical therapists introduced him to sled hockey, and he was immediately intrigued. As a result of his continued interest in hockey, he joined the San Antonio Rampage, which is a club sled hockey team comprised of injured military athletes. Sweeney has said that finding hockey again gave him a new goal in life and encouraged him to heal as soon as possible. On the San Antonio team he played alongside Jen Lee, Paul Schaus and Rico Roman, his U.S. Paralympic teammates. His Rampage coach pointed him to the U.S. National Team, and he followed the direction. Sweeney continued his sled hockey career, as he became a part of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in 2011, and the tri-captain of Team USA for the 2012-13 season. His dedication and great leadership skills are evident, as he served as the alternate captain for the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team that won the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Paralympics. The talented team features four military veterans, including Sweeney. His talent and scoring skills have helped contribute to multiple team wins. The three-time U.S. National Sled Hockey Team member took first place in the 2013 USA Hockey Sled Cup, and second place in both the IPC World Sledge Hockey Challenge and World Championship of 2013. One year prior, in 2012, Sweeney won gold at the same IPC World events, and played on the Dallas Stars club team that won the 2012 USA Hockey Sled Classic title.  The humble veteran’s story is truly inspirational and demonstrates the positive power of sports.