(Kamloops, B.C.) Wheelchair Basketball Canada proudly announced the names of its major award winners and hall of fame inductees on Saturday evening at its 2016 annual awards banquet as part of the festivities of the 2016 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship in Kamloops, B.C.
Cindy Ouellet and Maxime Poulin were named Athletes of the Year and Rosalie Lalonde was awarded Junior Athlete of the Year, while Marc Antoine Ducharme was honoured with the Leadership Excellence Award and Mitch Bossaer received the True Sport Award.
Five-time Paralympian and three-time Paralympic gold medallist Richard Peter was inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding achievements on and off the court within the wheelchair basketball community.
The award winners each exemplify fair play and sportsmanship while committing to values of inclusion. They are leaders in their communities, positive role models, and they display superior performance in their respective disciplines.
The 2016 Wheelchair Basketball Canada award winners are as follows:
Junior Athlete of the Year: Rosalie Lalonde (Saint-Clet, Que.)
Rosalie Lalonde has risen quickly through the ranks in the sport of wheelchair basketball due to her exceptional work ethic and competitive drive. In 2015, she earned roster spots on both the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team and the Women’s U25 National Team. She helped push Team Canada to a silver medal finish at the Parapan American Games and was a solid performer for the Canadian side that placed fourth at the junior women’s world championship.
Female Athlete of the Year: Cindy Ouellet (Quebec City, Que.)
Cindy Ouellet was once again at the top of her game in 2015-16, solidifying her reputation as one of the premiere defensive players in the world while punishing opponents with her elite speed and dynamic chair skills. This two-time Paralympian and world champion played a pivotal role in Team Canada’s podium finish on home soil at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto, ultimately securing silver medal as Canada qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Male Athlete of the Year: Maxime Poulin (Quebec City, Que.)
Maxime Poulin has established himself as one of the top wheelchair basketball players in Canada. Thanks to his dedication and talent, he is a respected leader on his Bulldogs de Quebec club team and a formidable adversary in the eyes of opposing players and coaches. His unparalleled skill on the court was instrumental in the Bulldogs’ gold medal victory at the 2015 CWBL National Championship. A three-time CWBL championship MVP, he was named to the tournament all-star team in 2015.
True Sport Award: Mitch Bossaer (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Mitch Bossaer is a true competitor who plays the game with passion and determination. He is a character player who respects his teammates, his opponents and the game itself. He practices every day with tremendous focus on improving his game. He is a selfless teammate who never puts himself before the success of the team. He is a role model who embraces the opportunity to give back to the community. He recognizes the positive impact he can have in the lives of others and never hesitates to volunteer his time, often helping to raise awareness for the sport and to introduce people to wheelchair basketball.
Leadership Excellence Award: Marc Antoine Ducharme (Laval, Que.)
Marc Antoine Ducharme is an outstanding leader who has been instrumental to the growth of wheelchair basketball in Quebec. As a builder, he has given back to the sport in many ways over the course of his career. He has been the director of Parasports Quebec since 2010, and has been with the organization for more than a decade. As a coach, Ducharme is passionate about the development of his athletes and empowers them to pursue their own individual excellence. He led Team Quebec to a fourth consecutive gold medal finish at the 2015 Canada Games.
Hall of Fame Inductee: Richard “Bear” Peter (Vancouver, B.C.)
For nearly two decades Richard “Bear” Peter was one of the most dominant wheelchair basketball players in Canada, and arguably the best in his class in the world. He was a staple of the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team program since making his debut with Canada in 1994. A five-time Paralympian, he captured three Paralympic gold medals during his illustrious career, along with one world championship title and three Gold Cup bronze medals.
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sports 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 six Paralympic Games.