Canada’s national wheelchair rugby team is back in action June 2-5 for the Canada Cup tournament, which was cancelled the last two years due to the pandemic.
The Canadian team is comprised of 11 of the 12 players that placed fifth last summer at the Tokyo Paralympic Games including scoring star Zak Madell and defensive stalwarts Trevor Hirschfield and Patrice Dagenais.
Below, learn a little bit more about all 12 athletes who will take the court for Canada in Richmond, B.C. next week:
Byron Green #7 (0.5 sport classification)
A national team member since 2013, the 38-year-old from Courtenay, B.C. was recruited by the sport’s creator Duncan Campbell. A two-time Paralympian, Green is a civil engineer based in Vancouver. He injured his spinal cord at age 16 when he crashed his mountain bike.
Eric Furtado-Rodrigues #41 (0.5)
At his first Paralympic Games in Tokyo last year, Furtado Rodrigues averaged 20 minutes a game and was a defensive standout for the Canadians. A quadriplegic after a snowboarding accident in 2009, the 43-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. was inspired to try the sport after watching the award-winning documentary Murderball.
Trevor Hirschfield #10 (1.0)
A four-time Paralympian, the 38-year-old from Parksville, B.C. is the co-captain of Team Canada and widely considered to be one of the best low-point players in the world. He showed that again in Tokyo averaging almost 20 minutes and contributing eight tries.
Patrice Dagenais #12 (1.0)
Another key defensive veteran for Team Canada, the 37-year-old from Embrun, Ont. contributed six tries at the Tokyo Paralympics and was on the floor for 18 minutes a game. Injured in a construction accident in 2003, the former hockey player and co-captain of the team thrives on the ruggedness of wheelchair rugby.
Cody Caldwell #9 (2.0)
A triple A hockey goaltender in Peterborough, Ont. before a diving accident in 2008, Caldwell, age 34, competed at his second Paralympics in Tokyo. His family is also involved in the sport, including his father, Team Canada’s equipment manager.
Anthony Létourneau #21 (2.0)
Injured in a hockey accident at age 17, Létourneau made his Paralympic Games debut in Tokyo. Despite limited playing action he still scored seven tries in four games. The 26-year-old from Boisbriand, Que. is a big part of the national team’s future.
Travis Murao #2 (2.0)
The 38-year-old from Toronto scored 12 tries at his fourth Paralympic Games in Tokyo, averaging eight minutes playing time per game. Injured in a snowboard accident at age 17, he started playing wheelchair rugby right away, and keeps the mood light with his well appreciated sense of humour.
Shayne Smith #25 (2.5)
Shayne Smith was third in team tries with 13 in his Paralympic Games debut in Tokyo last summer. On the national team since 2018, the 33-year-old entrepreneur from Toronto started Para sport in wheelchair basketball and switched sports at age 25.
Mike Whitehead #8 (3.0)
The big man scored 28 tries at the Tokyo Paralympics (second best on the team) at his fifth Games while putting in nearly 15 minutes on the floor. Now 46, the Windsor, Ont. native is an inspiration for players around the world for overcoming his personal battles to shine on the international stage.
Fabien Lavoie #11 (3.0)
Another five-time Paralympian on Canada’s experienced squad, the solid 40-year-old from Quebec City continued to intimidate his opponents with big hits in Tokyo, adding eight tries to his defensive prowess.
Branden Troutman #24 (3.5)
A member of Canada’s Parapan American Games team in 2019, 23-year-old Troutman is one of Canada’s bright young stars in the sport. From Lloydminster, Alta., he was introduced to wheelchair rugby by teammate Zak Madell.
Zak Madell #33 (3.5)
Madell showed once again at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games he is one of the finest players in the world. He was second in tournament scoring with an average of 26.3 tries per game totalling 105 points. The 28-year-old from Okotoks, Alta. made his Games debut at age 18 in London.
Canada will commence its 2022 Canada Cup campaign on June 2 versus France at 4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT. For more information on the event, visit CanadaCupWCRugby.com.