- Home: Kingston , Massachusetts
- Birthday: May 22, 1966
Growing up in Boston, a hotbed for hockey, Joe Howard started playing the sport at four years old.
When Howard was 15 years old, he made a decision that changed the rest of his life.
Howard and his buddies used to jump the train in Weymouth, MA, to catch a quicker ride home after school, and on one day in 1982, Howard made a mistake.
"One day we were jumping it and it was going faster than it was supposed to be", he said. "It was my own fault.
I jumped on it, went under it and lost both of my legs."
It took Howard two months to get out of the hospital. He said he never really dwelled on his injury , he knew it was an accident and needed to move on.
"I was never like 'Why me?' or stuff like that," he said. "I was more like now what" he said
"It was kind of my own fault.
It is what it is, but you just have to move on. If you don't move on, then that's on you."
"My biggest regret was the thought of never playing hockey again." In 1996, he was introduced to sled hockey, "and I fell in love with the sport all over again," said Joe.
In 1997, Howard made the U.S. National Team. In 1998 he competed at the Paralympic Games in Nagano, Japan where he set a Paralympic record scoring six goals in a single game vs Great Britian.It was The U.S. teams first win in the Paralympics. He also assisted on the first goal in Paralympic history for the U.S. team.
At the 2000 World Championships in Salt Lake City, UT, the U.S. team had a dissapointing showing, finishing 6th. Howard was named a tournament First Team All-Star.
Four years later, Team USA would not have qualified for the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City ,UT, had the US not been the host country which gave the squad an automatic bid. As a wildcard with no pressure , and with Howard as team captain ,they steamrolled through opponents until the finals.
After an overtime shootout victory, the Americans prevailed defeating defending champions Norway 4-3.
Going undefeated (6-0) ,outscoring opponents 26-6 in the tournament.
Joe was named MVP of the Gold Medal game. Scoring three goals and adding one assist. He was named a first team all-star.
Howard's hard fought first place finish was extra special. He fulfilled a promise he made to his mother, who was unable to attend due to her battle with cancer, by winning the Gold. The previous day, following their victory over Estonia, he proposed to his girlfriend of five years, Carol Tribuna on the center of the rink.Her mom Louise ,her sister Diane and their neice Ashley were in the crowd to witness it .
In 2004 the US team claimed its first ever medal (silver) at a World Championships in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Again with Howard as team captain.He led the team in goals and points and was named to the first all star team for the Tournament.
At the 2006 Paralympic games in Torino Italy,again with Howard as captain,the US settled for the bronze medal.
After a three year hiatus from the Team . Now, Howard is back to help lead the team back to the Gold Medal podium.
" I just needed a break from all the travel and commitments that go along with being a member of the team" he said, " I realized how much I missed it, so my wife and I talked about it, and I decided to go to tryouts ".
Recently named to the 2010 US Paralympic Team to compete at the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver,BC.
Joe Howard is the only player in team history to have played in multiple Paralympic Winter Games, having been a member of every U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team since the country's first appearance in 1998.Vancouver will be his fourth Paralympic Games.
Won his second Paralympic Gold Medal at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver,BC.
Joe is currently the only man in the world to have two Paralympic Gold Medals in the sport of Ice Sledge Hockey.
When he's not playing hockey, He enjoys spending time with his wife Carol and their two dogs, Leilani Kai his Rotweiller and Breeze his French Bulldog.Major Achievements:
2010: Gold Medal,Paralympic Winter Games , Vancouver,BC
2010: Will Compete at the 2010 Paralympic Games - Vancouver ,BC
2009: Named to 2010 Paralympic Team
2006: Bronze medal, Paralympic Games-Torino, Italy (Team Captain) (First Team All-Star)
2004: Silver medal, Sledge Hockey World Championships, Sweden (Team Captain) (First Team All-Star)
2002: Gold medal, Team MVP, Gold Medal Game MVP, Paralympic Games-Salt Lake City, Utah (Team Captain)
2002 (First Team All-Star)
2002: Inducted into Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame
2002: New England Wheelchair Athletic Association Athlete of the Year
2002: Olympic Spirit Award recipient
2002: USA Hockey Bob Johnson Award recipient
2000: 2000 World Championships Salt Lake City, Utah (First Team All-star)
1999: Governor's Committee Neighborhood Superstar Award recpient
1998: Paralympic Games Nagano,Japan ( First Team All-Star)
1998 : Set Paralympic record (scored 6 goals in a single game)
1997: Swedish Winter Games Soleftea, Sweden