Canadian team announced for wheelchair rugby Paralympic Games qualifier

Canadian Paralympic Committee

February 01, 2024

Team must place in top three for ticket to Paris

rugby pan am

OTTAWA – Scoring machine Zak Madell headlines a veteran 12-player roster announced Thursday by Wheelchair Rugby Canada for the last chance Paralympic Games qualifying tournament set for March 20-24 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Eight countries will battle for a spot in the top-three, which guarantees a ticket to the 2024 Paralympic Games set for Paris.

Canada, ranked fifth in the world, is in pool B with host New Zealand (#8), Brazil (#11) and Netherlands (#15). Pool A is comprised of world number-two Australia, Germany (#9), Colombia (#10) and Switzerland (#12).

On March 20, Canada opens the preliminary round against Brazil, followed by Netherlands on March 21 and New Zealand on March 22. A top-two in the pool guarantees a chance to play for Paris. The top two in each pool cross over in the semis with the winners going to the final and the losers battling for bronze.

Qualified so far for the Games are world number-one U.S. (which beat Canada for gold at the Parapan Am Games in November to clinch a spot), France as host (ranked sixth in the world), defending Games champion Great Britain (#4), Denmark (#7) from the European championships, and Japan (#3) from the Asian championships.

‘’It will be a tough competition,’’ said Canada’s head coach Patrick Côte. ‘’Both pools are very well balanced. We need to expect everyone to be ready for us, especially New Zealand who are going to be highly motivated playing in front of their home crowd.

‘’We will match that energy.”

At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Madell, a three-time Paralympian, finished second in tournament scoring, averaging over 26 tries per game (through four games) as Canada placed fifth.

Madell, a three-time Paralympian from Okotoks, Alta. is one of nine members from that 2020 team along with

          Mike Whitehead of Windsor, Ont., vying for a sixth Paralympic Games appearance

          Four-time Paralympians Trevor Hirschfield of Parksville, B.C. and Travis Murao of Toronto

          Three-time Paralympian Patrice Dagenais of Embrun, Ont.

          Two time Paralympians Cody Caldwell of Peterborough, Ont. and Byron Green of Victoria

          Anthony Létourneau of Boisbriand, Que. and Eric Rodrigues of Mississauga, Ont., who both made their Games debut in Tokyo

          Matt Debly of Windsor, Ont. and Rio Kanda Kovac of Toronto, who were on the 2023 Parapan Am team

          The newcomer is Joel Ewert of Prince George, B.C.

All games will be streamed live on the following channels:


·         World Wheelchair Rugby

·         DSport

·         NZ Wheel Blacks 

·         NZCIS

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