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Team BC Loses Out at the Wheelchair Rugby Invitationals

Team looking ahead to nationals for comeback

Alberta Roughnecks’ Kendall Winter races Team B.C.’s Cody Fournie for the ball on March 11. Cameron Thomson Photo.
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Reported by Cameron Thomson

After losing all five of its games at the Vancouver Invitational Wheelchair Rugby Tournament, Team BC will need to turn things around as it focuses on the upcoming Canadian nationals in May.

With a final score of 56-36 for the Alberta Roughnecks on Sunday, the British Columbians placed fourth at the tournament hosted by South Vancouver-based BC Wheelchair Sports Association. The event was held at the Richmond Olympic Oval last weekend where eight teams from across North America competed over three days.

BC Wheelchair Sports Association communications coordinator Nathan Bragg said the team were the underdogs of the competition but maintained a high level of effort throughout.

“As the game went on though, [Team] BC did a really good job of staying calm and weathering the storm and just continuing to fight regardless of how things were going to go,” he said.

More chances to win

Ian Chan, head coach for Team BC has a full regimen to prepare his team for nationals, which will take place in Calgary from May 25 to May 27.

“The Canadian nationals are kind of our Stanley Cup for the season,” Chan said. “We have practices, training camps and select tournaments that prepare us to perform.”

After nationals, at least three members from Team BC will be competing at the 2018 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament on June 11 to 18, also held at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Ability depends on mobility

Bragg said wheelchair rugby involves athletes of various levels of ability.

“Wheelchair rugby was created as an alternative to wheelchair basketball for athletes that have impairment in their upper limbs as well as their lower limbs,” Bragg said.

He described how each player is given a certain rating depending on their mobility. These ratings can have a large impact on team makeup and the strategy teams employ, as well as the type of chair they use to compete.

“They get tested on the arms, their trunk, their hands,” Bragg said. “Your lower point players generally will operate like your offensive lineman in football, they’ll be setting picks, they’ll be setting screens and opening up lanes for the higher functioning athletes to go through.”

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