Brice Parker pays his dues to be on Canada’s men’s goalball team

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 21, 2023

After 12 years in the sport, he makes Games debut at 2023 Parapan Ams


SANTIAGO – Brice Parker of London, Ont. started playing goalball at age 11 and had to pay his dues to crack the veteran line-up on the men’s national goalball team.

But there he was on the floor Monday playing in a crucial situation during the final minute of Canada’s 5-4 loss to Argentina in preliminary round action at the 2023 Parapan American Games. The winner of the tournament gets a ticket to the 2024 Paralympic Games.

‘’I love it,” he said after the match. ‘’The crowd cheering their favourite teams, the energy every game brings. It feels like a gold medal match every time. We have confidence in all the players and any of us has the ability to go out there in those dying seconds to get the job done.”

Goalball is a unique Para sport for athletes that are visually impaired. In goalball, players throw the ball using a bowling motion into the other team’s net while the opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies. The 1.25 kilogram ball has noise bells which help orientate the players. There are three players on the court for each team during the game.

In Canada, it’s been no easy task to crack this line-up, laden with experienced players. But this year there is a shake-up with three of the six players at their first major Games in Santiago: Parker, Aaron Prevost of Cornwall, Ont., and Mason Smith of Middleton, N.S.

‘’I’ve been to a couple of Team Canada events but nothing of this calibre,’’ said Parker, 25. ‘’But this is something I’ve always strived for, especially being at a multi-sport event. It’s actually pretty nerve-wracking, but great to be here.’’

Over six feet tall and in prime physical condition, Parker definitely has the build for the sport. It was the mental aspect that he needed to improve.

‘’I really had to focus on that,’’ he said about the mental game. ‘’There’s so much that has to go into that. You need that confidence to be a champion. Goalball has always been my top sport and somewhere I felt I’ve always belonged and always enjoyed it.’’

‘’I work as hard as I can to provide the best support for my team.’’

Canada’s head coach Nathalie Séguin is impressed with Parker’s dedication and development.

‘’He’s really improved and has been inching his way on the national team over the last five years,’’ she said. ‘’To come into a game late is never easy and when it is a situation like today with the pressure, he was able to play very well.’’

The Canadian men have now completed the preliminary round with one win and two losses. The prelims were basically a ranking tournament and Canada plays in the quarterfinal on Wednesday. Its opponent is still to be determined with other games scheduled for Tuesday.

Parker plays centre and plays a key role in defending and making sure ‘’the proper person gets the ball so we have an opportunity to score.’’

‘’I love how it’s a team sport, the adrenaline rush in it. It’s a very fast-paced game and you never know what’s going to happen next with a variety of different shots.

‘’You have to be at the top of your game at every moment.’’


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