WBC announces Award Winners, inducts Dave Durepos, Sabrina Durepos and Walter Dan into HOF

Canadian Paralympic Committee

April 29, 2024

Five outstanding individuals were honoured Saturday night at Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s Awards and Hall of Fame banquet, and three athletes – Dave Durepos, Sabrina Durepos and Walter Dann – were inducted into the WBC Hall of Fame.

Awards & Hall of Fame // Prix et Temple de la renomée

By Wheelchair Basketball Canada

The award recipients, who have truly excelled in their respective fields, include the Female (Puisand Lai) and Male Athletes (Colin Higgins) of the Year. Nick van Bakel, a rising star, was named junior athlete of the year. The Leadership Excellence Award was presented to Kaitlin Lauridsen, and Logan Aalders received the True Sport Award, a testament to his sportsmanship.

“I would like to congratulate all the award winners for their exceptional achievements and dedication to advancing the sport of wheelchair basketball,” said Wheelchair Basketball Canada CEO Wendy Gittens. “Additionally, I would like to acknowledge Dave, Sabrina, and Walter for their induction into the WBC Hall of Fame. These three athletes had outstanding careers on the court representing Team Canada, and their well-decorated tenures in wheelchair basketball are most deserving of the honour.”

The 2023 Awards and Hall of Fame class:

Leadership Excellence – Kaitlin Lauridsen  


Kaitlin Lauridsen’s wheelchair basketball journey is a testament to her unyielding passion and dedication to the sport. Her effect on the community extends far beyond her impact on the Edmonton Inferno Women’s Team, involving herself as an active volunteer, board member and head coach for the Alberta Northern Lights Wheelchair Basketball Society (ANLWBS).  

Kaitlin’s most commendable contribution to the ANLWBS is her commitment to redeveloping the athlete entry system, the “Mini Lights” program. Her thoughtful and creative approach to implementing new and engaging wheelchair basketball programming has enhanced the skills of Alberta’s youth athletes and instilled a love for the sport and the community it fosters.   

Kaitlin’s coaching potential has not gone unnoticed. She will attend the Canada Junior West Finals as a developing assistant coach and the CWBL Nationals in Fredericton as an assistant coach with the Alberta Northern Lights B Team.  

True Sport Award – Logan Aalders



Playing since the age of eight, Logan Aalders has displayed tremendous growth as an athlete, coach and individual through over a decade of dedication.  

His innate leadership potential was on full display during the 2019 and 2023 Canada Games, where he guided his teams with grace and encouragement and brought people together on and off the court.   

Fuelled by passion, knowledge, and a visionary mindset, Logan’s impact on wheelchair basketball flourished when he elevated the Parasport Roadshow and 3×3 competitions to foster a culture of fair play and inclusivity. Logan employs the same principles in his coaching roles, enabling him to empower athletes of all levels and abilities and make the East Coast Wheelchair Basketball League and P506 programs accessible and fun for everyone.    

Logan exemplifies all the principles of True Sport and is a crucial contributor to the growth and development of the next generation of athletes and leaders.  


Junior Athlete of the Year – Nick van Bakel



Nick van Bakel is a disciplined and hard-working athlete with an unquenchable drive for personal development. He holds his teammates, coaches and game officials in high regard and displays an exemplary level of fair play and sportsmanship every time he gets on the court.   

Nick’s pursuit of athletic excellence is evident in all aspects of his game, from his rigorous training regime to his offensive tenacity on the court and everything in between. The Team BC athlete frequently tops every statistical category and is consistently noted as one of Canada’s top young players.  

During the 2022-23 season, Nick was awarded MVP at the 2022 Junior Nationals and led Team BC to a gold medal at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. He was a key player on the BC Grizzlies at the 2023 CWBL National Championship and continues to lead Victoria throughout the BC CWBL Season.  


Female Athlete of the Year – Puisand Lai



A respectful player, fierce competitor, and effective leader, Puisand Lai (“Boots”) possesses all of the qualities of an impactful, high-performance athlete, both on and off the court.   

Following a short break from the national team after Tokyo, Boots returned to the U25 program and Senior Women’s National Team with unwavering commitment and determination. She pushed herself to the limits in preparation for IWBF World Championships and U25 Worlds, and it did not go unnoticed.   

Her resilient performance in the Senior Worlds round-robin earned her a well-deserved spot in the starting lineup for the remainder of the tournament. She was then a brilliant captain and honorary MVP of her U25 team, leading them in scoring and assists nearly every game. No matter the event, Boots approaches professionalism and preparation in a fashion unmatched by any other athlete in the program.  


Male Athlete of the Year – Colin Higgins



A member of the Senior Men’s National Team, Higgins helped Canada win bronze at the 2023 Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile, scoring 21 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in Team Canada’s 70-62 win over Argentina. The victory secured the SMNT a spot at the 2024 IWBF Repechage Tournament. 

At the 2022 IWBF World Championships in Dubai, Higgins averaged 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game in Canada’s seven games.  

In the fall, the 32-year-old took his talents to Europe and signed with the club team Aigles du Velay in France. 


Hall of Fame: Walter Dann (Athlete) 



Born in Vancouver and raised in Halifax, N.S., Walter Dann contracted polio as a three-year-old. Despite the life-changing diagnosis, Dann continued with his aspirations in sport turning his attention to wheelchair sports. 

Dann began playing wheelchair basketball with the NS Flying Wheels in 1968 and debuted with Team Canada that same year at the 1968 Summer Paralympics in Tel Aviv, Israel – the first time the Canadian Men’s National Team competed at a Paralympic Games. He won gold with Team Canada at the 1970 Pan American Games in Jamaica and was a member of the Men’s National Team at the 1972 Paralympic Games in Heidelberg. 

Before briefly retiring from the National Team, Dann competed at the 1975 World Cup in Brussels and the 1976 Paralympics in Montreal. Dann returned to wear the Canadian colours at the 1982 Pan Am Games in Halifax and participated in the 1983 Gold Cup in Halifax before retiring permanently. 

Dann was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Hall of Fame: Dave Durepos (Athlete)



Born in Fredericton, N.B., Dave Durepos began playing wheelchair basketball following a motorcycle accident. He quickly made a name for himself on the international stage after earning a roster spot on the Senior Men’s National Team in 1994. 
As a well-known outside shooter on the court, Durepos represented Canada at five Paralympic Games, winning gold three times (2000, 2004 and 2012). He became the first New Brunswick native to win Olympic or Paralympic gold when he captained the 2000 team in Sydney, Australia. 
A member of the 2006 SMNT, Durepos and Team Canada won gold at the World Championships in Amsterdam, and the team was inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. 
Hall of Fame: Sabrina Durepos (Athlete)



A native of Repentigny, Que., Sabrina Pettinicchi Durepos, was introduced to wheelchair basketball as part of her rehabilitation following a motor vehicle accident. 
Durepos spent 12 years with the Senior Women’s National Team, winning gold at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta and the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney. She also helped Canada win bronze in Athens in 2004. Additionally, Durepos won three consecutive gold medals with the SWNT at the World Championships (1998-2006). 
As a coach and mentor, Durepos was instrumental in developing the CIVA minis program in Quebec. In New Brunswick, Durepos played a pivotal role in developing the Learn to Play program. She has also been a manager or coach with Team NB at four straight Canada Games (2011-23). 
For a complete list of previous Awards and Hall of Fame winners, visit wheelchairbasketball.ca.

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