Scoring machine Zak Madell and five-time Paralympian Patrice Simard are among the 12 players selected to represent hosts Canada at the upcoming International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Paralympic Qualification Tournament in Richmond.
The event is due to be held at Richmond Olympic Oval from March 2 to 9.
Eight countries will participate to determine the last two positions in the wheelchair rugby competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Madell is the main player responsible for putting points on the board for Canada, who have been drawn into Pool B along with Sweden, Germany and Switzerland.
He joined the national team in 2012, at the age of 18, for that year’s Paralympics in London.
Madell averaged 17.8 points per game to lead all scorers at last year’s Parapan American Games in Peru’s capital Lima, where Canada won the silver medal.
"Home court is 100 per cent an advantage for us," he said.
"Whenever you have that crowd cheering for you it just gives the team that extra boost."
Besides Simard, Mike Whitehead and Fabien Lavoie have both competed at four Paralympics and Travis Murao and Trevor Hirschfield at three apiece.
Also on the team are Byron Green, Eric Rodrigues, Patrice Dagenais, Anthony Létourneau, Cody Caldwell and Shayne Smith.
"We are bringing a very experienced roster to the qualifier," Canada’s head coach Patrick Côté said.
"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.
"Playing at home in Canada will be a major advantage for us, as we try to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
"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."
Dagenais expects a very 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."
Pool A will feature France, Brazil, Colombia and Thailand.
The top two finishers at the event will compete alongside Australia, Denmark, Britain, Japan, New Zealand and the United States at Tokyo 2020.