When did you realize your dream was to be on Team Canada?

Ask Team Canada – Arinn Young

Arinn Young“I started playing wheelchair basketball around 2010 while I was waiting for my first knee surgery. I didn’t think I was very good, although I had played stand up ball since I was six. Once I started playing I was in love. This sport is so amazing. I could still play basketball competitively all while sitting in a chair. How awesome is that!

This sport is so amazing. I could still play basketball competitively all while sitting in a chair. How awesome is that!

Once I had my knee surgery I played both stand up and wheelchair basketball. Within the year, I was scheduled for a second surgery on the same knee. By now I had met Danielle Peers, Karla Tritten and Tara Feser (all Edmonton Inferno players and past Team Canada players) who told me tons of stories about their careers in wheelchair basketball. When I started grade 10, I told my stand up basketball coach that I hoped to one day play for the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team. He thought I was crazy.

In 2012, I got to play with the Edmonton Inferno women’s team and compete at my first women’s nationals and I was just mesmerized by all of the talent. I could not believe that I got to play against Team Canada players Janet McLachlan and Cindy Ouellet. I thought pushing against them was pretty amazing.

As I started to understand the sport more and my chair skills improved a lot, my teammates on the Edmonton Inferno had faith that one day, if I got classified, maybe I would make Team Canada. I kind of just laughed it off because I was not classifiable yet and I was still playing for fun, but in my heart that’s where I knew I wanted to be.

I would say that 2013 was the official start of my journey as I blew out my ‘good’ knee at zones and made my first trip across Canada to play at women’s nationals at Défi sportif in Montreal. I knew what I was getting into this time when we had strong teams in our round robin. The Edmonton Inferno had a lot more faith in me when I got the privilege to start with the veterans on the team. At this tournament I got the chance to meet some of the staff at Wheelchair Basketball Canada. I made the tournament all-star team when I was 16 years old. This is when I decided that my dream was to make Team Canada.

After finding out the results of my newly injured knee and submitting all of the paperwork to the classifiers, I finally got the good news in January 2014. I received classification for minimal disability and became eligible to play for the National Team!

My dream has since come true. There is nothing more satisfying to me than pulling on that red and white jersey and playing for my country. After making the team and winning the 2014 Women’s World Championship in Toronto, I can honestly say it was the greatest moment of my life so far. Next up are the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto and then onto the Paralympics! Bring it on!!!”

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Arinn Young, Senior Women’s National Team


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