Veteran Canadian squad for wheelchair rugby Paralympic Games qualifier

Canadian Paralympic Committee

January 24, 2020

‘’The level of play is getting better and better,’’


OTTAWA – Scoring machine Zak Madell and five-time Paralympian Patrice Simard were among the 12 players selected to Team Canada this week for the wheelchair rugby Paralympic Games qualifier March 2-8 at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Canada (ranked fifth in the world) is in Pool B along with Sweden (world No. 8), Germany (No. 11) and Switzerland (No. 15). Pool A will feature France (No. 6), Brazil (No. 9), Colombia (No. 12) and Thailand (No. 20).

The top two teams in the tournament will qualify for the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo August 26- September 6.

“We are bringing a very experienced roster to the qualifier,’’ said Canada’s head coach Patrick Côté. ‘’The group includes multiple players that have been to Paralympics and competed on the biggest of stages numerous times, and I know they are hungry.”

Besides Simard, Mike Whitehead and Fabien Lavoie have both competed at four Paralympics and Travis Murao and Trevor Hirschfield at three apiece.

“Playing at home in Canada will be a major advantage for us, as we try to qualify for Tokyo 2020,’’ continued Côté. ‘’The tournament will be very competitive, the margin for error very limited, so we will not take anybody lightly. Solid execution will be a big priority as we advance in the tournament.”

Madell is the main player responsible for putting points on the board for Canada since he joined the national team in 2012 at age 18 for the London Games. He averaged 17.8 points per game to lead all scorers at the Parapan Am Games last summer where Canada won the silver medal.

“Home court is 100 percent an advantage for us,’’ said Madell. ‘’Whenever you have that crowd cheering for you it just gives the team that extra boost.’’

Dagenais expects a highly competitive tournament.

‘’The level of play in international wheelchair rugby is getting better and better,’’ he said. ‘’We’ll have to be at the top of our game to win.’’

Here is the Team Canada roster:
Byron Green – Vancouver, B.C. 
Eric Rodrigues – Mississauga, Ont. 
Patrice Dagenais – Embrun, Ont.
Trevor Hirschfield – Parksville, B.C.
Patrice Simard – Quebec, Que.
Anthony Létourneau – Boisbriand, Que.
Cody Caldwell – Peterborough, Ont.
Travis Murao – Toronto, Ont.
Shayne Smith – Toronto, Ont.
Mike Whitehead – Windsor, Ont.
Fabien Lavoie – Quebec, Que.
Zak Madell – Okotoks, Alta. 

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