Sledge hockey Paralympian and Humber alum Karl Ludwig came home from Sochi with bronze around his neck.
“Pretty incredible,” said Ludwig of his Sochi experience. “It was my first ever Paralympics and I worked really hard to get there so it’s a dream come true to be there.
“Unfortunately we didn’t come home with the gold medal we wanted, but it’s nice to come home with something,” said Ludwig of the team’s bronze medal. “They’re a lot bigger and heavier than I thought.”
Ludwig was quick to quash the idea of poor living conditions in Sochi. “Everything was great,” he said. “Living the lifestyle of a Paralympian was pretty cool.”
The Team Canada power forward was introduced to the sport by his mother at age two and started playing at age seven, he said.
“I’ve been playing a very long time, I’m 25 now,” said Ludwig, who won gold with the team at the 2013 World Championships in Goyang, South Korea.
Since he was was introduced to sledge hockey, it has grown exponentially.
“It used to be just a few countries that were competitive at it and now more and more countries are getting better and better,” he said.
The popularity of the sport in Canada is no surprise to Ludwig. At its core, it’s still the same game Canada treasures as its national sport.
“There’s a lot of people (in Canada) that really, really like hockey and whether you’re disabled or not, you’re going to find a way to play,” he said.
He brings a lot of tenacity to the ice, said Team Canada teammate and goaltender Corbin Watson.
“Even for his small size, he can be one of the biggest players on the ice,” he said.
Ludwig is the type of player who will go into the corner and get into the mix when he needs to, or head in front of the net to pot a goal when he can, said Watson.
Off the ice, Ludwig is the team comedian. Watson said Ludwig can get you laughing at anything.
“He’ll bring anybody up when they’re down, he’s a fantastic teammate to have,” said Watson.
Ludwig honed his comedy skills with a short stint in the comedy-writing program at Humber after graduating from Humber’s travel and tourism program in 2008.
“It was a great experience being in the comedy program and a great experience being in the travel program,” he said.
For now Ludwig said his focus has shifted, having moved from comedy writing to international sledge hockey competition.
Lauren Longo, a disability services officer at Humber, said Ludwig’s accomplishments show anything is possible.
“I hope it shows that students can succeed despite any disability at school,” said Longo.
Ludwig will now take some deserved time off.He said he hopes to be able to compete in the 2018 Paralympics in Pyrong Chang, South Korea