(Ottawa, Ont.) Wheelchair Basketball Canada is pleased to announce the athletes selected to represent Canada in 2017 as members of the Senior Men’s and Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Teams.
The Canadian teams will compete at the Americas Cup qualifier from August 23-30, 2017 in Cali, Colombia. Both teams are seeking a top four finish in Cali to secure a berth to the world championships taking place in Hamburg, Germany in 2018.
“We started a process to prepare for the qualifier and everything is going as expected,” said Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach Matteo Feriani. “We are building new chemistry within the team as we have some new additions this year. We will arrive in Colombia with new ideas and with confidence. We want to enjoy the tournament and ourselves and look forward to the competition.”
“This is a new era for this team and we are building a solid group for the coming year,” said Senior Women’s National Team Head Coach Marc Antoine Ducharme. “Several good players have retired following Rio but the curve of our progression will continue to go up. Team chemistry is very important in basketball and our team is united and ready to perform at its best during big games.”
The rosters feature 12 returning players who represented Team Canada at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The athletes named to the teams are as follows:
Team Canada Men
- Adel Akhmed (Toronto, Ont.)
- Patrick Anderson (Fergus, Ont.) *
- Vincent Dallaire (Quebec, Que.)
- David Eng (Montreal, Que.) *
- Nikola Goncin (Regina, Sask.) *
- Alex Hayward (Quispamsis, N.B.)
- Bo Hedges (Wonowon, B.C.) *
- Colin Higgins (Rothesay, N.B.)
- Tyler Miller (Kitchener, Ont.) *
- Ben Moronchuk (Edmonton, Alta.) *
- Garrett Ostepchuk (Regina, Sask.)
- Jonathan Vermette (Sherbrooke, Que.) *
Team Canada Women
- Sara Black (Toronto, Ont.)
- Helaina Cyr (Sherwood Park, Alta.)
- Kady Dandeneau (Pender Island, B.C.)
- Erica Gavel (Prince Albert, Sask.) *
- Melanie Hawtin (Oakville, Ont.) *
- Rosalie Lalonde (Saint-Clet, Que.) *
- Cindy Ouellet (Quebec, Que.) *
- Tamara Steeves (Mississauga, Ont.) *
- Élodie Tessier (Montreal, Que.)
- Arinn Young (Legal, Alta.) *
* indicates Paralympians
On the men’s side, Canada sees the return of an all-time great in Patrick Anderson to round out a solid core of veterans, including co-captains David Eng and Bo Hedges, and fellow Paralympic gold medallist Tyler Miller. Paralympians Nik Goncin and Jonathan Vermette also return.* indicates Paralympians
Canada welcomes four rookies to the team in Adel Akhmed, Alex Hayward, Colin Higgins and Garrett Ostepchuk. Akhmed, Hayward and Ostepchuk recently represented Canada at the 2017 Men’s U23 World Championship in Toronto in June alongside returnees Vincent Dallaire and Ben Moronchuk.
Veteran Cindy Ouellet leads the cast of returning players on the women’s side, which includes fellow Paralympians Erica Gavel, Melanie Hawtin, Rosalie Lalonde, Tamara Steeves and Arinn Young. Ouellet, Hawtin, Steeves and Young were all part of the Canadian team that won gold at the last world championship in 2014.
With several retirements following Rio 2016, Canada also welcomes a group of new faces into the fold in Sara Black, Helaina Cyr, Kady Dandeneau and Élodie Tessier.
Both teams are currently centralized at the Wheelchair Basketball Canada National Training Centre located at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough, Ont., as they make their final preparations for the Americas Cup qualifier.
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sport governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last seven Paralympic Games. For more information, visit www.wheelchairbasketball.ca.