The top junior wheelchair basketball athletes in Canada are ready for their journey to northern British Columbia to do battle over five days of intense competition at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
The Canada Winter Games get underway February 13 – March 1, 2015 in Prince George, B.C. The wheelchair basketball competition runs February 16-20 at Duchess Park Secondary School. All of the games will be webcast live at www.canadagamestv.ca and you can follow all of the action on social media with the hashtag #CGwheelchairbball.
Nine provincial teams will compete in the wheelchair basketball competition. Pool A features Quebec, Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, while Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island will clash in Pool B.
La belle province is in pursuit of its fourth consecutive gold medal at the Canada Games and has not lost a match since 1999, compiling a 16-0 win-loss record since the start of the Canada Games in 2003.
Quebec enters the 2015 Canada Games as the second ranked team in the country following a single-point loss to Saskatchewan in the final at the junior national championship in 2014.
Twin brothers Jonathan and Philippe Vermette will compete at their third Canada Games and are among five returning players from the 2011 championship team. The Quebec roster is loaded with depth, including six players with Canadian national team experience.
The team’s quest to keep the winning streak alive in Prince George will begin against New Brunswick on February 16, 2015.
Team Alberta is poised to make an impact at the 2015 Canada Winter Games and ranks third going into Prince George thanks to a bronze medal performance at the 2014 junior national championship.
Alberta has experience on its side with seven returning players from the team that placed eighth at the last Canada Games in 2011. World champion Arinn Young, as well as Helaina Cyr and Alarissa Haak have also represented Team Canada at the international level.
Team Alberta will face Nova Scotia in its opener at the 2015 Canada Games.
Team New Brunswick
New Brunswick is the sixth seed going into the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Backed by coaches Sabrina and Dave Durepos, both multiple Paralympic gold medalists for Canada in wheelchair basketball, a young and energetic Team NB looks to reach its full potential on the court in Prince George.
Jacob Fudge, Jamie Leblanc and Sean Wilson are competing in their second Canada Winter Games. All three athletes were a part of the team that finished in ninth place at the Games in 2011.
New Brunswick will tip off against Quebec in its opening game at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Team Nova Scotia
Team Nova Scotia is coming off its best ever finish at the Canada Games after placing fifth as the host team in Halifax in 2011. The team will try to capitalize on that forward momentum when it hits the hardwood in Prince George.
With Joanna Swett as the lone returning player from 2011, a young Team Nova Scotia that ranks seventh is looking to maximize team chemistry and make some noise at the Games.
Nova Scotia will meet Alberta in its opening game at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Confidence is high for Team Saskatchewan as it sits atop the team rankings going into the 2015 Canada Winter Games following an upset victory over Quebec at the junior national championship in 2014.
Led by reigning world junior championship MVP Nik Goncin, Team Saskatchewan is a threat on both sides of the basketball. The roster features six players that contributed to Saskatchewan’s bronze medal performance at the last Canada Games in 2011.
Team Sask will tip-off versus Ontario in its opener at the Canada Winter Games on February 16, 2015.
As the host team, British Columbia hopes the momentum of the hometown crowd can help propel the team all the way to the podium at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
The roster features two local Prince George products in Avril Harris and Joel Ewert. Harris, competing at his third Canada Games, anchors a young team that features just three returning players from the squad that placed seventh at the last Canada Winter Games in 2011.
Team BC went 2-3 at last year’s junior national championship to earn the fourth seed going into the 2015 Canada Games.
Team BC will open the 2015 Canada Winter Games against Manitoba on February 16, 2015.
Team Ontario is the reigning silver medalist from the last winter edition of the Canada Games in 2011.
Josh Davies, Eric Voss and Kevin Wakeling are back and looking to lead a young Ontario team on a return trip to the podium. In fact, Ontario has reached the podium at every Canada Games since wheelchair basketball made its debut at the multi-sport event in 1995.
Team Ontario ranks fifth going into Prince George and will clash with Saskatchewan in its first match at the 2015 Canada Games.
Team Manitoba is coming off a fourth place finish at the 2011 Canada Games and ranks eighth ahead of the Games in Prince George.
The 2015 edition of Team Manitoba features a completely new cast of characters looking to hone their skills and make their mark at their first Canada Games.
Manitoba will face host Team BC in the opening match of the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Team PEI is in the hunt for its first podium appearance in wheelchair basketball at the Canada Games. The team ranks ninth going into Prince George and hopes to climb the ranks by showing great promise on the court.
Rising star Liam Hickey will look to make an impact at his first Canada Games, while Ronnie McPhee and twins Jeremy and Joel Watts represented PEI at the last winter edition of the Games. Prince Edward Island placed sixth at the Canada Games in 2011.
Team PEI will collide with host Team BC in its first game of the 2015 Canada Games.
About the 2015 Canada Games
The 2015 Canada Winter Games will be the largest multi-sport and cultural event to ever be held in Prince George and northern British Columbia. The Games will feature 2,400 up-and-coming athletes from across Canada as they compete in 19 different sports, including wheelchair basketball, with the dream of becoming Canada’s next champions. For more information, visit www.canadagames2015.ca.