Team Italy was voted by the public as the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athlete of the Month for February 2011.
At the 2011 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championship in Solleftea, Sweden, Team Italy caused two major upsets to become the new European champions.
Tipped by a minority as outsiders, and at best a medal hope before the Championships, the Italians finished second in group B and produced a huge shock by defeating favorites Norway 2:1 in the semi-finals, according to a press release.
Against Norway, who scored 44 goals and conceded just three in winning their group, the Italians fell a goal behind but fought back with goals from Florian Planks and Andrea Chiarotti to secure a victory.
In the final, Italy played the Czech Republic, who had beaten them 3:0 in the group stages. Gregory Leperdi opened the scoring and then Florian Planks’ goal secured a 2:0 European title victory.
Team Italy, which only started playing the sport in time for the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, was voted Athlete of the Month following a poll on the IPC’s official Facebook page.