BC Golden in Wheelchair Basketball at 2023 Canada Winter Games
(CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I.) – For the first time in Canada Games history, Team BC took gold in wheelchair basketball defeating Alberta 79-32 on Saturday in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Since wheelchair basketball debuted at the Canada Games in 1995 in Grand Prairie, Alta, B.C.’s best finish at the Games was second (1995, 2003), to go along with a bronze (1999). Alberta has won gold twice (1995, 2019) and a bronze in 2015.
“I’ve been in sport my whole life, and this is the most special moment I’ve ever had.,” said BC Coach Simon Cass. “It’s an incredible group of kids; they’ve worked incredibly hard: empty gyms, long days – working and just doing it together. We did it as a team, and it’s great to see – it culminated with our best performance of the last eight years in the biggest game. Myself and the rest of the coaching staff could not be more proud.”
BC went a perfect 5-0 at the 2022 Junior National Championship in Charlottetown and remained undefeated through the Canada Winter Games, finishing with a 5-0 record in capturing gold.
Gabe Harrison led the way for BC with a triple-double scoring a game-high 27 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. Nick van Bakel added 26 points and five rebounds.
“The whole game was a real team win, and I think we pulled together and did what we needed to do,” said van Bakel. “This team, throughout Junior Nationals and Canada Games, we’re undefeated – I think that speaks to the work we put in over the past eight years, 12 years for some, and I’m really happy to do this with these guys.”
Alberta was led by Reed De’Aeth who scored 10 points and added 10 rebounds. Jayna Doll added 10 points and four rebounds.
“First thing that comes to my mind is just getting back to a gold medal game again with a pretty young team and going through a pandemic – I think it’s great,” said Alberta coach Darrell Nordell. “Definitely, the veteran experience and leadership helped us throughout the week – you saw some of the players that could really step up and play at that level, and there are some players that needed this experience for the next Canada Games in 2027.”
Quebec defeated Manitoba 75-46 to take bronze at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre. Quebec also won bronze in 2019, edging New Brunswick 56-55 in Red Deer, Alta.
Collin Lalonde had a game-high 29 points, 10 assists and five rebounds on Saturday afternoon. Lionel Tamoki chipped in 16 points, five assists and five rebounds, while Alex Bougie had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
“Losing against Alberta on Friday in the semifinal, especially after we were leading, was hard for us,” said Quebec coach Nic Palmer. “But we were able to regroup for today’s game. Also, hats off to Manitoba – they played a great tournament.
“We were lucky we had a strong bench, and they played well today; as a result, we could execute at a high level. I’m super proud of my team.”
Manitoba was led by 19 points and seven rebounds from Thomas Thevenot. Callum Johnson finished with 10 points and five rebounds for Manitoba, who improved on its seventh-place finish in 2019.
In the consolation playoffs, New Brunswick took fifth place with a 66-44 win over Saskatchewan. Ontario topped Newfoundland 44-27 to finish seventh at the Canada Winter Games.
Austin MacLellan paced New Brunswick with 24 points, eight assists and added eight rebounds. Jake Fudge chipped in 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Ibrahim Odza scored a game-high 16 points, five assists and four rebounds for Ontario. Desmond O’Shaughnessy added 10 points and 13 rebounds in the victory.
The Canada Games are a milestone in the continued development of the next generation of Canadian national, world and Paralympic champions in wheelchair basketball. The competition features current and future members of the Canadian National Team program, including hopefuls to represent Canada at the IWBF World Championships and the Parapan American Games.
The complete tournament schedule and results are available here. Photos from games can be found here. Games are streamed through the official Canada Games web portal. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #CGwheelchairbball.
About the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island:
As a province known for its hospitality, we’re excited to welcome the 2023 Canada Winter Games to Prince Edward Island. From February 18 – March 5, 2023, the Games will bring together 3,600 athletes, managers, and coaches, across 20 different sports, for the largest multi-sport event in the country. With a forecasted economic impact of over $100 million, the 29th edition of the Canada Games will be the largest event hosted in Prince Edward Island’s history.
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sports governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization committed to excellence in developing, supporting, and promoting wheelchair basketball programs and services from grassroots to high performance for all Canadians. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem worldwide for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last seven Paralympic Games. For more information, please visit wheelchairbasketball.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Communications & Digital Media Manager
Wheelchair Basketball Canada