RICHMOND, B.C. – ParaTough Cup fuelled by Petro-Canada™, the primary fundraiser for the Paralympic Foundation of Canada, held its first event since early 2020 on Friday and raised more than $70,000 for people with a disability who want to participate in sport at all levels.
While the weather outside was dreary, the atmosphere inside the spectacular Olympic Oval was bright and festive as eight teams from seven organizations participated in the event, competing in three Paralympic sports: sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and Para ice hockey.
After three hours of competition and a lot of sore arms, shoulders, and backsides, Petro-Canada won the trophy thanks to their skills both on the field of play and in raising funds for the cause.
They finished ahead of Fasken in second place and RBC (featuring 17-time Paralympic swimming champion Michael Edgson) in third. Also participating was lululemon with two teams, BC 2030, Toyota, and the Rick Hansen Foundation.
Emceed by Paralympic Games Para alpine skiing gold medallist Josh Dueck, a number of Para athletes were on hand to help with the sports and meet with the teams, including three from the wheelchair basketball world: husband-wife superstar duo Richard Peter and Marni Abbott-Peter, both three-time Paralympic Games champions, and Tara Llanes, on the current women’s wheelchair basketball team.
In addition, two top prospects with Italian heritage were on hand. Fifteen-year-old national team Para ice hockey player Matteo Pellizzari and Para nordic prospect Leo Sammarelli.
“It’s great to be back after three years,” said Llanes, who is from North Vancouver. “Being able to be here with a lot of the sponsors is really important and being able to talk to them and show them Para sport, it’s important for them to try it out.
“It’s an amazing event so they can see what it takes to be a high performance Para athlete.”
Llanes herself capitalized on an opportunity to try out Para ice hockey for the first time: “Man, it’s hard,” she said.
The participants, who are part of teams that commit to raise at least $5,000 to enter, not only competed but learned more about the Para sport world through a fireside chat hosted by Dueck.
“The ParaTough Cup has come back with a raging success,” said Joseph Polossifakis, a member of the winning Petro-Canada team, who works for the company in sponsorships.
“At Petro-Canada one of the ways we like to say we Live by the Leaf is supporting those who wear it.
“We believe that all Canadians with a disability should have access to sport opportunities and should have the resources to pursue sport to the highest level and represent our great country around the world proudly.”
The next ParaTough Cup fuelled by Petro-Canada™ of the 2022-23 season will take place in Montreal November 3, followed by events early next year in Calgary and Toronto.
For more information, please visit ParaToughCup.ca.