Team Preview Canada
Currently ranked 2nd in the world, the founders of Wheelchair Rugby come to the BT WWRC with winning on their mind. Canada are one of the most consistent teams in the world, regularly finishing in the top 3 of knock out tournaments. An extremely talented and experienced group of athletes will be looking to take on the USA, South Africa and New Zealand Wheel Blacks in Pool A of the tournament.
The team’s best tournament finish came at the 2002 World Championships, where they bested the USA to take home the gold. This win was captured in the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Murderball.” The BT WWRC opens with a remake of this clash where an improving USA team will be looking for revenge.
Last time Canada were in London, they took home the silver medal at the 2012 Paralympics. They were well beaten 66-51 by an Australian team whose star player Ryley Batt scored a colossal 37 points. They then went on to take a silver medal at the 2014 World Championships in Odense. They were also edged out by Australia on that occasion. The final result however was closer that the previous Paralympic result.
The Canada team has a wealth of experience and uses this to strategically out manoeuvre other teams. Prior to the BT WWRC, Canada host the Parapan Am games, where they will have to beat the USA to qualify for Rio 2016. Captained by Trevor Hirschfield and supported by key players including Patrice Dagenais and Zak Madell, Canada will be aiming to continue their good form against the USA.
In Zak Madell, Canada have a player that cam score, create chances and can perform on the big stage.
In just four short years, Zak “The Kid” Madell has established himself as one of the best wheelchair rugby players in the world. Last year, he cemented this reputation by being named MVP of both the 2014 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Odense, Denmark and the 2014 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament.
As one of the most high-functioning players on the team, Zak plays an all-around game. His speed, passing, catching and hitting abilities are all crucial for Team Canada.
Canada are part of Pool A and schedule looks like below:
- USA- 12th October (5:30pm)
- South Africa – 14th October (12:00pm)
- New Zealand – 14th October (5:30pm)
Can Canada repeat their victory over the USA? Will they be the team to challenge tournament favorites Australia? Let us know @BTWWRC15.
Picture Source: (Getty: Colin McConnell)