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Wheelchair rugby – ​(Richmond, BC – March 7) Elite wheelchair rugby teams from Canada, Japan and the USA will battle at the Richmond Olympic Oval this weekend when BC Wheelchair Sports Association hosts the Vancouver Invitational Wheelchair Rugby Tournament.

This year’s Vancouver Invitational will mark the debut of Canada and Japan’s new coaching staff. At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Japan upset Canada to win bronze. After the Games, Canada’s head coach, Kevin Orr, was hired by Team Japan. Canada’s technical program manager Patrick Côté was promoted to head coach and veteran athlete David Willsie was named assistant coach.

Now, the teams will have their first opportunity to size each other up. Japan has brought its national team to the event, while Canada and the USA have sent development teams. Most club teams also roster several Paralympians.

” The Vancouver Invitational is one of our most exciting tournaments,” said BCWSA Executive Director Gail Hamamoto. “It attracts some of the best wheelchair rugby players in the world, but because it’s a club team tournament, everyone’s willing to go for big hits, to take risks and to try new strategies. The games are always very entertaining.”

One of Team BC’s up-and-coming stars is 16-year-old Joel Ewert (Prince George, BC). Despite his young age, Ewert has been invited to attend several Team Canada training camps and is considered one of Canada’s top prospects.

“The Vancouver Invitational is a great opportunity for B.C. athletes like Joel to develop their skills here at home,” said Hamamoto.

The 2017 Vancouver Invitational Wheelchair Rugby Tournament will take place from March 10 – 12. For rosters and schedules, visit www.wcrugby.com.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:

Arley Cruthers
Communications and Marketing Manager
BC Wheelchair Sports Association
Cell: 778-788-9091
Email: arley@bcwheelchairsports.com

About Wheelchair Rugby

Wheelchair rugby is a team sport for male and female athletes with a mobility-related disability in at least three limbs. It is a unique sport created by athletes with a disability that combines elements of basketball, handball and ice hockey. Wheelchair rugby was invented in 1977 in Winnipeg, Canada and was originally known as “Murderball” because of its aggressive nature. Today, wheelchair rugby is played in 26 countries and is under development in several more.