Wheelchair Basketball Canada have announced their squads for the Parapan American Games, with men’s and women’s teams set to bid for Rio 2016 qualification, in addition to chasing gold.
As reigning Paralympic champions, the Canadian men’s team will begin as one of the favourites to win the Parapan Am Games title in front of their home crowd at the recently renovated Ryerson Athletic Centre.
David Eng, Tyler Miller, Chad Jassman, Abdi Dini, Adam Lancia and Robert Hedges, members of the triumphant London 2012 team, have all been named in the 12-man squad.
They are joined by Deion Green, Peter Won, Vincent Dallaire, Liam Hickey, Nik Goncin and Jonathan Vermette, who will hope to improve on Canada’s previous two appearances at the Games, a silver at Rio de Janeiro in 2007 and bronze at Guadalajara in 2011.
Steve Bialowas, named interim head coach while Jerry Tonello undergoes treatment for a brain tumour, is positive the home crowd will benefit his team at the Games.
"It's a rare and special privilege to compete in front of family and friends in a big international competition with so much at stake,” he said.
“We are prepared and excited to have all of Canada cheering for us when we get on court and look forward to showcasing all of the elite skill and determination that make our sport and our athletes great.”
Canada’s women will also be aiming to go one step further this summer, having finished as runners-up to the United States in the previous two editions of the Parapan American Games.
Elaine Allard, Janet McLachlan, Arinn Young, Cindy Ouellet, Rosalie Lalonde, Maude Jacques, Katie Harnock, Darda Sales, Tracey Ferguson, Jamey Jewells, Erica Gavel and Melanie Hawtin will be hoping to replicate the level of performance which saw them clinch the world title in front of their home fans in Toronto last year.
"Winning the World Championship last year in Toronto, and getting to play in the same venue that we will be competing in come August, gives us some momentum heading into the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games,” said Bill Johnson, the head coach.
"All of Team Canada is strongly united by our ultimate goal of qualifying for the Paralympics and we remain steadfast in our collective desire to be the best in the world.”
Unlike the men, who require a top-two finish to qualify for Rio 2016, Canada’s women will seal a berth at next year’s Paralympics with a top three finish at Toronto 2015.
In addition to the team announcements, Wheelchair Basketball Canada have also unveiled a new mobile-friendly website which aims to provide fans with the latest information on national teams.
The new website can be accessed here
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